According to the London daily Elaph, Emirate singer Ahlam notified the management of the 16th Arab Music Festival in Cairo, held November 1st through 10th that she will not be attending, placing them in an awkward position. Ahlam was scheduled to sing on the 8th night of the festival alongside Lebanese singer Marwan Khouri, a newcomer to the Festival. Festival president Dr. Ratiba Al Hifni said that Ahlam’s reason for not attending was personal, and she has nothing against the festival. Egyptian singer Shireen Abed Al Wahab agreed to take Ahlam’s place. This will be her first appearance at the festival.
Shireen is known as the daughter of the ‘Egyptian Opera House.’ Shireen said that she wants to bring back the spirit of legends such as Umm Kalthoum and Abed Al Halim. The late singer Muhammad Abed Al Wahab will be honored at this year’s festival. The singer’s life story will be recounted to the song “Ashiq Al Rooh” (Spirit Lover), written by Dr. Al Hifni and directed by Jihan Mursi. Dr. Al Hifni said that five Arab singers will participate in the festival for the first time, inlcuding Lebanese singers Carol Samaha, Marwan Khouri, and Melhim Zain, along with Iraqi singer Majed Al Muhandis and Egyptian singer Shireen Abed Al Wahab.
The ten days and nights of the festival will include 41 different concerts and ten people from the music world will be awarded for their achievements. Nine out of the ten being awarded are Egyptians, including late musician Hasan Abo Al Soud, Hani Mhana, Muhammad Tharwat, Nadia Mustafa, Salah Faiez, Midhat Saleh, music distributor Ibrahim Al Radio, art critic Muhammad Mustafa, calligrapher Ahmad Abed Al Aziz and the Iraqi music searcher Subhi Rashid.