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‘Art Brings Us Together’: Libya Song Festival Returns to Tripoli After Nearly Two Decades

© AFP 2023 / MAHMUD TURKIAMusicians perform during the Libyan Song Festival in Libya's capital Tripoli, on December 15, 2022.
Musicians perform during the Libyan Song Festival in Libya's capital Tripoli, on December 15, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.12.2022
Libyans build many hopes on cultural and artistic festivals, including the Libyan Song Festival, which was absent due to the war. There are expectations that its return will bring about a local movement that will restore Libyan art to its splendor, despite the political circumstances in which the latest version has been held.
The fifth session of the Libyan Song Festival has come to a close in Libya’s capital Tripoli after nearly two decades of absence, marking the return of the cultural life of the country, which is still recovering from the impact of an escalating political crisis since 2011.
The event, which was an extension of the four sessions that were organized in the years 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, saw dozen of promising Libyan artists competing to win the heart of the audience, as well as members of the festival’s judiciary committee, which consisted of a number of established Libyan artists.

“The festival of Libyan song is about Libyan lyrics, tunes and rhythms, and of course Libyan voices -- it's not new to Libyans. It had previous editions, maybe four before this fifth one, after a break of 18 years because of the conditions and crises in our country, but now we're saying that we have come back, with new voices, with a new approach regarding the lyrics and the tunes,” said Sami Mahmoud, an artist taking part in the event.

Speaking of the size of competition, Walid Jdir, member of the festival committee, said that only 20 participants made it to the stage in the final day of the festival out of more the 80 applicants to the song festival.

“82 participants applied to the festival, eight were rejected for not complying with the festival's application conditions. The organizing committee submitted 74 applications to the technical committee that worked on it for ten days and succeeded in selecting 20 participants for the official competition,” Jdir noted.

In the Libya Song Festival, a number of financial prizes were allocated to the winners, including a grand prize of 60,000 dinars (about $12,000) for the integrated song, lyrics, melody and performance, and incentive prizes of 15,000 dinars (about $3,000) for the best lyrics, best melody and best performance, respectively.
The fifth session of the festival, which bore the name of Mohamed Hassan, one of the country's most famous artists who died in 2017, was held under the slogan "The Libyan Song with Optimistic Eyes - Art Brings Us Together". In addition, a number of artists who immortalized their names in the Libyan song records were also honored at the event.
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