Massala CompanyFouad Boussuf

OÜM, 07. - 09. September 2021

07. - 09. September 2021

From the delicate to the violent.

  • Price155-320
  • StageMain stage

Dates & times

  • 07. September - 19:00
  • 08. September - 19:00 (Sold out)
  • 09. September - 19:00

Along the Mediterranean coast of the early 1900s, from Cairo to Beirut, iconic female voices would be heard on the radio. Every street corner and every car stereo would warble to the sound of Arabian songs, and a particularly ubiquitous voice was the great diva Oum Kalthoum. Her voice, quivering with low-pitched intensity, chanted Persian poetry with melodies characteristic of the Tarabian style in which she excelled.

Dancer and choreographer Fouad Boussouf, who was born in Morocco but grew up in France, did not understand Oum Kalthoum’s lyrics when he heard them while growing up. But her voice still evokes vivid childhood memories. It was not until the 2000s, after his training in contemporary dance and hip-hop, that he discovered the Rubaiyat – astronomer Omar Khayam’s long poem that communicates the inevitability of death, while urging us to enjoy the fragile, all-consuming moments of life. It was these verses, in the Egyptian poet Ahmed Rami’s Arabian translation, that Oum Kalthoum sang on the streets of Cairo, often in male clothing.

The production of Oüm is a tribute to Oum Kalthoum, and the spectrum of emotions that she could evoke – from the delicate to the violent. Stylistic barriers are crossed by six dancers and two musicians, in a poetic and musical cry about life, about the euphoria of the present moment, and in some way about transcendence.

Background material


  • Dancers

    Nadim Bahsoun
    Sami Blond
    Mathieu Bord
    Loïc Elice
    Filipa Correia Lescuyer
    Mwendwa Marchand

  • Song, words and percussion

    Mohanad Aljaramani

  • Guitar and words

    Lucien Zerrad

  • Stage designer

    Raymond Sarti

  • Dramaturg

    Mona El Yafi

Production: Massala Company
Co-productionn: La Briqueterie – CDCN du Val-de-Marne Le POC d’Alfortville, Institut Français de Meknès, Morocco CCN de Crétei, POLE-SUD, CDCN de Strasbourg, Les Hivernales – CDCN d’Avignon, Fontenay-en-Scènes, Fontenay-sous-Bois, Hessisches Staatsballett – Tanzplattform Rhein Main, Germany Théâtre Paul Eluard (TPE) à Bezons.
Financial support: ADAMI, La Commanderie-Mission Danse de SQY Conseil départemental du Val-de-Marne DRAC, Région Ile-de-France, La SPEDIDAM.
Recidensies/support: La Briqueterie - CDCN du Val-de-Marne CCN de Créteil et du Val-de-Marne CND, Institut Français de Meknès, Hessisches Staatsballett, Allemagne Les laboratoires d’Aubervilliers Mophradat, Le POC d’Alfortville, POLE-SUD, CDCN de Strasbourg.