Salaam Festival Previews Programme for 20-25 July 2022

31 March 2022

Arooj Aftab, Sanam Marvi, Anissa Helou, Sofia Karim, Kamaal Williams, Dhafer Youssef and Ballake Sissoko are announced as part of the inaugural festival

Additional artists include: Zaman, Faraz Ali, Abdul ‘Abdanger’ Kinyenya, Mohamed Koumenji, Rushil Ranjan, Eivand Aarset, Abi Sampa, Yusra Warsama, Manchester Camerata, Antonio Ssebuuma Bukhar, Noureddine Khourchid and the Whirling Dervishes of Damascus, Numbi Arts, Elmi Ali, Deba -The Women of Mayotte, Ajam, Elaha Soroor and Kefaya.

“This is a landmark occasion in our multicultural city. In order to change the way we engage, experience and interpret art, it is important to be seen and heard through producing relevant and high quality work”. Rizwan Iqbal, Artistic Director, Salaam Festival.

About Salaam Festival

Salaam Festival is a Manchester based biennial festival that explores the future of Muslim art and culture through the production of original, new work and presents artists across disciplines and genres.

Salaam Festival will debut from 20 - 25 July as an artist and community led festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and culture. The festival brings together internationally-renowned artists from different art forms and backgrounds to create relevant, innovative and progressive new work, accessible to new and existing audiences across Manchester and the World.

This year’s festival will debut five new commissions, including a brand new composition based on poet Mohammed Iqbal’s work, an installation by Jameel Prize nominated artist Sofia Karim and an immersive opening ceremony with award-winning chef Anissa Helou. It will also feature five nights of music at venues across the city centre, free programming in the ‘Medina’ - the festival hub, and a series of daily conversations called ‘Sohbet’.


New Work

Mehfil (Opening Ceremony)

Exchange Hall, Manchester Central

Wednesday 20 July 

6:30 PM (Doors Open 6:00 PM)

Salaam Festival opens with Mehfil, a feast for the senses inviting 500 guests to experience a gathering rooted in the festival's exploration of Muslim arts and culture - past, present and future.

Artistic directors Jean-Hervé Vidal and Mehdi Ben Sheikh of Zaman Productions present to us acoustic and visual artistry in sacred forms by Noureddine Kourchid and the Whirling Dervishes of Damascus, Sufi singers Deba from Mayotte and Tunisian street artist Mohamed Koumenji aka Koom. Complimenting the performances, award-winning chef Anissa Helou will treat guests to a sumptuous Moroccan-inspired multi-course meal. 

Lal Gate

20 - 25 July 

Lincoln Square

Sofia Karim’s installation at Salaam Festival proposes Lincoln Square as a site for a public garden dedicated to political prisoners. Set within Manchester’s new Peace Garden (a place which remembers acts of colonial, military and fascist violence around the world), Karim’s garden draws inspiration from Islamic gardens, whilst seeking to move beyond exoticised tropes. Stories of political prisoners whose cases Karim follows, form the basis for this installation. The garden is both a means of remembrance and a call to action for their freedom.

“Rooted in my theories on the ‘architecture of disappearance’, the garden is a site for struggle and resistance, a ‘thin place’ where the boundary between the physical and spiritual world dissolves.” Artist, Sofia Karim.


Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 July


6:30 PM (Doors Open 6:00 PM)

Choreographer Abdul ‘Abdanger’ Kinyenya (Kampala) and Creative Producer Antonio Ssebuuma Bukhar (Leeds) showcase the greater struggle taking place deep inside man’s journey in his battle with the self. Muguwa (rope, Luganda) explores the duality, fluidity and anchoring within man’s journey. Using the influence of martial arts and original music from Faizal Mostrixx, this exhilarating contemporary dance piece highlights themes of identity, insight, trauma and transformation of the male narrative.

“Since we all go through internal struggle regardless of our colours, nationalities and tribes, we tend to have clashes of values and desires. And it is this conflict within that creates the urge to fight both physically and internally. The power of observing and coming to terms with this internal individual process creates an urgency of inquiry and using dance choreography as a major drive excites me and puts importance on the possibility of creating peace within oneself.”  Artist, Abdul ‘Abdanger’ Kinyenya

Ârōōr /ǎ 

21 - 25 July


Performance starts 3.00 PM (Installation timings:10:00 AM - 2:00 PM)

Ârōōr /ǎ is an Afro-Futurist project that tries to imagine the possibilities of a Somali future. 2021/22 marks three decades since the onset of the Somali war. This work takes this critical moment as a springboard to step into an imaginary future. It is a verbatim piece part play/part installation that explores the first-person future tense. It juxtaposes this with an installation composed of modernist artefacts of the post-colonial era steeped in symbolic meaning and carves out a space for those willing to journey into imagined realities. Written by Elmi Ali, directed by Yusra Warsama and produced by Numbi Arts, Ârōōr /ǎ speculates a future where old spectres of the late capitalist era have been laid to rest and attempts to define the current of the new reality with the currently war torn city of Muqdisho as its centre.


Sunday 24 July 

Albert Hall

3:00 PM (Doors Open 2:30 PM)

Muhammad Iqbal, was a South Asian Muslim writer, philosopher, and politician, whose poetry in the Urdu language is considered among the greatest of the twentieth century. Yet Iqbal seems a mystery and remains relatively undiscovered in the West when compared to poets and philosophers such as Rumi or Hafez. 

Salaam Festival presents a brand new vision and interpretation of one of  Mohammed Iqbal’s most famous and controversial poems, Shikwa (Complaint).

This newly imagined musical work will be written and composed by Rushil Ranjan and performed by Manchester Camerata featuring Abi Sampa as vocalist. 

“To interpret a work as significant as Allama Iqbal’s Shikwa -in such a new and ground-breaking way - is an opportunity that I am deeply grateful for. To be able to voice this interpretation with an orchestra as accomplished as the Manchester Camerata is a real privilege.  The essence of the poem itself is so deeply spiritual and simultaneously so human - in the most nuanced of ways.” Artist, Rushil Ranjan.


Sanam Marvi with Elaha Soroor and Kefaya

Thursday 21 July 

02 Ritz

7:30 PM (Doors Open 7:00 PM)

Yazz Ahmed and Kamaal Williams

Friday 22 July 

Manchester Academy 2 

7:30 PM (Doors Open 7:00 PM)

Ajam Band and The Reminders

Saturday 23 July 

Band on the Wall

7:30 PM (Doors Open 7:00 PM)

Dhafer Youssef’s Digital Africa 

Featuring: Ballaké Sissoko & Eivind Aarset

Sunday 24 July

Stoller Hall

7:30 PM (Doors Open 7:00 PM)

Arooj Aftab and Somi

Monday 25 July

Manchester Cathedral 

7:30 PM (Doors Open 7:00 PM)


Festival Hub 

12:00 PM - 10:30 PM, Daily

21 - 25 July

St Anne’s Square


Conversation Series

12:00PM - 1:00PM, Daily

21 - 25 July

Portico Library

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