- Type: Live Music
NileGuide Expert Says:
Authentic Egyptian and North African folk music in shabby-chic surroundings
NileGuide Expert tip:
Makan is a small venue, and can get quite busy, so get there early to get a decent seat
- Makan is a small venue just south of Downtown Cairo, in an area known as Mounira. It is part of the Egyptian Centre for Culture and Art (ECCA), that aims to record, preserve and present traditional African music in Egypt, making it available to a wider audience.
Makan is famous for its Zar performances every Wednesday. Zar was traditionally a healing ceremony, in which the participants use powerful, arrhythmic drumming and chanting to exorcise demons and drive out disease. Women play an important role in this process.
The Mazaher ensemble that perform at Makan are some of the last remaining Zar practitioners in Egypt, and their style is drawn from different forms of Zar music. They are consummate performers, and the atmosphere is a curious mix of the intimate, the light-hearted, and the intense.
As well as the Mazaher ensemble, Makan holds a night every Tuesday called Nass Makan (or "People of Makan"). This is a fascinating blend of folk music, including gypsy music from the Egyptian delta, musical styles inspired by the Zar, and Sudanese singers and musicians.
Whatever you think of the authenticity of performing a "healing ritual", Makan is definitely a memorable night out, and well worth a visit if you get the chance.
It's very easy to get to, just around the corner from Saad Zaghloul metro station. If you fancy a bite to eat, there are a number of restaurants near by, such as Abou Shakra, or Taboula in Garden City.