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Balcony musicians entertain downtown shoppers, shed light on city’s architectural heritage

By Muath Freij - Sep 27,2015 - Last updated at Sep 27,2015

A crowd gather Wednesday night as musicians play from a balcony of an old building’s balcony in downtown Amman as part of an initiative to attract public attention to the city’s architectural heritage (Photo by Muath Freij )

AMMAN – Music serenading pedestrians from the balcony of an old house in downtown Amman caught Hamdi Al Mahmoud’s attention on Wednesday, during a stroll with his family on the eve of Eid Al Adha. 

Mahmoud was surprised when he looked up to see a number of artists performing from the balcony of Duke Diwan, a cultural museum in Amman. 

“I had no idea what was happening, but the sound of music made me curious to approach and have a closer look at the show,” he told The Jordan Times as Arabic music drifted down from the balcony. 

Mahmoud’s surprise, and pleasure, were exactly the impact Tajalla, a newly formed cultural and artistic society, hoped to make when its founders planned their first activity in downtown Amman.  

Tajalla organised the musical performances on balconies in downtown Amman to strengthen the bond between Jordanians and the city’s architectural heritage, the society’s director Rusol Al Nasser said. 

Nasser noted that their idea, inspired by a similar concept implemented in Egypt, is to turn the balconies of the capital’s old houses into their stage and the streets their theatre and audience.

“We wanted to do musical performances at balconies in Amman without notifying people about the time of the performance so that we surprise them,” she told The Jordan Times ahead of a performance.  

Naser said they wanted to perform on the eve of Eid Al Adha to provide people shopping for the holiday or ambling with their families with an exciting and charming atmosphere.

“The art of balcony music existed during the 17th century in Europe and we wanted to do this activity to link old houses of historical and traditional significance with music,” she added. 

The Jordanian artists performed a number of Western and Arabic pieces. 

Adi Naber, one of the participating artists, said the event was important because it was different than normal musical events that are held in halls. “We wanted to send a message that music has to be an important part of people’s life,” he told The Jordan Times.  

Sahar Khalifah, Naber’s colleague, described the show as “challenging”.  

“Because this audience had no idea that a musical show was to be performed in downtown Amman, their reaction gave us a new impression while performing. There was kind of a sense of fear before performing but at the same time I was also excited,” she added. 

Nasser noted that their project, supported by the Greater Amman Municipality, will include similar activities in other neighbourhoods in Amman in the future.  

Um Hazem, a member of the public who enjoyed this unexpected show, said the good thing about the performance was that it was free of charge.

 

“The idea of the event is really important amidst the lack of entertaining activities in Amman,” she added.

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