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FAMA’s second week spotlights women in music


The highly anticipated second Festival of Arabic Music and Arts (FAMA) continues, focusing on talented female artists in its second week.

Audiences were eager to watch Palestinian singer, Dalal Abu Amneh. A neuroscientist from Nazareth, Abu Amneh’s first show, “Nur Sufi Concert” on November 1st in Toronto was completely sold out. Her reflective and spiritual performance had audience members in awe.

Fans of Abu Amneh were delighted to catch her in her second FAMA performance, “Ya Setti from Palestine” on Saturday November 3rd at The Toronto Centre for the Arts. 
Accompanied by a group of beautiful grandmothers on stage, Abu Amneh performed “Ya Setti” (Oh Grandma) to pay homage to her vibrant Palestinian heritage and to celebrate the Palestinian woman’s role in preserving that heritage.
“I’m so happy to be part of FAMA this year. I hope to come back and to connect with my beloved audience again and all those living in the diaspora,” Abu Amneh says.
Audiences were taken on a musical journey while the ladies dressed in traditional Palestinian embroidery gowns (called “Thawbs” in Arabic) sang folkloric Palestinian songs. Attendees were also treated to discussions on the origins of these songs and how Palestinians lived in their homeland.
“I hope we can all keep renewing our love for our heritage,” Abu Amneh says.
Without needing to mention it, it was clear that FAMA organizers wanted to celebrate women in music this year.
The second highly anticipated female artist, Lena Chamamyan mesmerized audiences with her angelic voice and stage presence on Friday November 2nd at The Toronto Centre for the Arts.

A fully independent artist, the Syrian-Armenian singer blends traditional Arabic music with Armenian songs. Chamamyan’s rapport with the audience was clear, as audience members sang along to her renditions of Syrian folkloric songs. Chamamyan was delighted to teach her audience to also sing along in Armenian.
“When I hear people singing with me in Armenian, it feels like the whole world is one,” Chamamyan notes. She hopes FAMA shows people how music unites us.
“The festival is amazing and the audience here was amazing because they know how to feel music. Canada is really holding many nationalities together. I hope my music allows people to feel each other and to know that we all have our issues and battles, and I just want the world to be one,” Chamamyan says.
On Sunday November 4th, the Canadian Arabic Orchestra’s “Flamenco Arabia” played at the Aga Khan museum. Syrian Flamenco guitarist and composer, Tarek Ghriri, created a masterpiece when he merged his love for Flamenco music with Arabic melodies.
The sold-out show delighted audience members with a fusion of Arabic and Spanish music, accompanied by traditional Flamenco dancers.
As FAMA continues, the festival organizers are expecting around 14,000 audience members this year. For more information about FAMA, visit

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