As a hallmark of the festival, each year Le Guess Who? invites trailblazing creatives to curate their own dedicated programs, highlighting fellow like-minded artists and those that have inspired them.
For the 2023 edition, Le Guess Who? invited mastering engineer Heba Kadry, who curated a comprehensive program, weaving together an array of compelling MENA and international acts. Our resident photographer, Juri Hiensch, tagged along with artists curated by Heba, capturing the essence of their artistry in a photo series.
Heba Kadry about her curation at Le Guess Who? 2023: “As an engineer born and raised in Egypt, I traveled to the US as a young woman to study the art of audio engineering due to lack of access in my native country at the time. A field that is male dominated with very very few immigrants in the US. After many years of hard work and experience I found that I could bring all the skills that I’ve learned to help empower artists from Africa/Middle East to sonically sound just as good as artists from Europe and the US, where access to studios and gear and knowledge is infinite. That exchange of ideas is so important to me and it’s what I hope my curation brings to listeners.“
For her curation she invited a.o. Brooklyn-based composer, musician, and producer Faten Kanaan, who performed in the Janskerk. Kanaan uses counterpoint as a narrative tool to create music that is mysterious and deeply melodic.
Italian-born, London-based record producer, mixer, and engineer Marta Salogni added drummer, composer, and percussionist Valentina Magaletti (of Vanishing Twin and many more) to her laundry list of collaborators. When performing with others, Salogni filters their sound through mazes of tape, raising reflections on time and memory.
Heba's curation brought together two renowned artists: Palestinian-born, Paris-based musician Kamilya Jubran, who, with her multi-disciplinary work, is one of the most revered artists in the experimental and alternative Arabic music scene, and singer, composer, poet, and scholar Amina Alaoui, who is a world-renowned expert in Arabic-Andalusian lyrics.
On Saturday at EKKO, a stage for upcoming and promising acts, several artists from Heba's curation took over the night: Baskot Lel Baltageyya, a Cairo-based project headed by musician Adham Zidan and poet Anwar Dabbour; El Kontessa, the stage name of Cairo-based producer, DJ, and multidisciplinary artist Fajr Soliman; Cairo-based electronic producer 3Phaz; and Khyam Allami, an Iraqi-British multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, researcher and founder of Nawa Recordings.
Photography by Juri Hiensch