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Hiya Live Sessions: A digital festival celebrating women artists


On 13th March 2021, marking the tenth anniversary of the Arab uprisings and Women’s History Month, HIYA (her) will host a digital festival bringing together an all-female line-up of progressive DJs, musicians, singers, poets and artists from across the SWANA region who are shaping the future of music.


Their music marks the milestones of recent history, responding to Intifadas, occupation, wars, exile, protests and invasions, rebelling against the standards of commercial music, gender identity and regressive systems. A 12-hour music marathon, as a statement against the patriarchy, HIYA Live Sessions presents a whirlwind of radical sounds across multiple genres, through intimate live performances, DJ sets, poetry readings and interviews and conversations by leading figures in the SWANA music industry, such as sonic agent Christina Hazboun. The festival will be broadcast live and direct from artists in their cities, from Ramallah to Tunis, Tehran to Beirut through radio and video streams via Philadelphia-based community organization Al-Bustan Seeds, Egyptian music platform Scene Noise, Bethlehem-based radio station Radio Alhara, NYC-based multi-cultural dance party and live performance project Disco Tehran, non-profit DJ community Future Female Sounds, the decade-old arts and nightlife community the Beirut Groove Collective, Beirut club Ballroom Blitz, London-based Arab cultural organization MARSM, global platform for Middle East Arts ArteEast, Mixcloud Live, as well as radio platforms ROOT Radio, Hammam Radio and Radio Raheem. The festival will be launched on 12th March with a panel hosted by the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) about the role of women in regional resistance movements with Egyptian hip hop artist Felukah and Hazboun.


The artwork for Hiya Live Sessions was created by Maya Moumne and Lynn Zakhour of Beirutbased Studio Safar and Jasmine Abu-Hamdan.


Starting its life in 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic, HIYA (her) was founded by Lebanese culture journalist and programmer Shirine Saad as a podcast series to map revolutionary feminist music and art from the Arab world and diaspora. For HIYA LIVE SESSIONS, she is joined by Beirut Groove Collective co-founder and journalist Natalie Shooter, and friends around the world.


Tune-in virtually! 

Date & Time: Saturday, March 13 at 3 PM EST to Sunday, March 14 at 3 AM EST

Performance link will be shared closer to event date.

Stay updated with the HIYA Facebook Event Page!




- AYA METWALLI (Egypt /Lebanon)


- DEENA ABDELWAHED (Tunisia/France)



- FELUKAH (Egypt/US)

- HALA ALYAN (Palestine/US)


- LILIANE CHLELA (Lebanon/Canada)

- LYNN ADIB (Syria/France)

- LUCIA KAGRAMANYAN (Armenia/Austria)

- MAKIMAKKUK (Palestine)



- SAHAR, DNA (Iran/UK)




- YAZZ AHMED (Bahrain/UK)

- ZEYADA (Egypt/US)



Alsarah & the Nubatones 

Alsarah is a singer, songwriter, bandleader and a somewhat reluctant ethnomusicologist. Born in Khartoum, Sudan and now based in Brooklyn, she is a practitioner of East-African Retro-Pop music. With her main outfit, Alsarah & the Nubatones, she has released two fulllength albums titled ‘Silt’ and ‘Manara’, as well as the album ‘Aljawal’ with Débruit.


Aya Metwalli

Aya Metwalli is a singer/songwriter, composer, and producer from Cairo who has been performing her original material since November 2011. Described as “a musical enigma” by The Guardian, Metwalli has self- published over 30 songs and amassed over 3 million streams and over 35 thousand followers on Soundcloud.


Badiaa Bouhrizi

Singer-songwriter, composer and electronic music producer, Badiaa Bouhrizi emanates from the alternative music scene in Tunis. Evolving in different musical styles, genres and acoustics, her compositions are always guided and hauled by her distinctive vocal style “Afro- Mediterranean Bel Canto”. Laureate of the Cambridge University Africa Together Award for Innovation in African music and The Aga Khan Music Award for Social Inclusion.


Deena Abdelwahed

Only novelty and daring count for a place in the DJ sets of the Tunisian Toulouse-based Producer and DJ Deena Abdelwahed. Cited as one of best acts in Sonar Festival 2017 by NY Times, she has played in clubs and festivals around the world. Her first critically-acclaimed EP “Klabb” was released in 2016 and in 2020, she released the EP ‘Dhakar’.


El Kontessa

El Kontessa is a Cairo-based DJ and music producer who mixes mainly Egyptian Mahraganat music with a tinge of trap, as well experiments with different electronic beats.


Emel Mathlouthi

After translating the energy of the Tunisian uprisings into sound, Emel Mathlouthi has established herself as an essential reference of the new Arabic music scene. Her music takes in experimental, electronic, North-African, Arabic and cinematic music.



Hailing from Cairo, NYC-based Felukah entered the music scene in 2018 with her neosoul/ hip hop EP ‘Yansoon’. Felukah frequently code-switches between English and Arabic and explores cultural issues and multiplicity in her verse. In 2019, she released her debut mixtape ‘Citadel’ and last year released her debut album ‘Dream 23’ on Abu Recordings.


Hala Alyan

Hala Alyan is an award-winning Palestinian-American poet. Her critically acclaimed novel ‘Salt Houses’ was released in 2017 and her second novel ‘The Arsonists’ City’, a family saga set in Beirut, is due to be published in March 2021. She’s also written four award-winning collections of poetry. Her work has been published by the New Yorker, Lit Hub and The New York Times Book Review.


Juliana Yazbeck

Juliana Yazbeck is an award-winning performer, writer and musician. Performing in English and Arabic, her words champion matriarchy, indigeneity, and the right to cultural autonomy. Musically known for combining Arabic aural traditions with ambient electronica and hip-hop poetry, Juliana’s presence inherently challenges the status quo.


Liliane Chlela

With her distinct sound treatment and signature improvised performances, Liliane Chlela has been pushing forward the boundaries of ‘Experimental and Electronic Music’ in the Middle East for over a decade, as a solo artist and via her local and international collaborations. Chlela is arguably one of the most versatile female producers in the Middle East.


Lynn Adib

Lynn Adib is a singer-songwriter from Syria based in Paris, France. After finishing her studies in vocal Jazz and releasing her debut Album “Youmma” (2018), she started co-creating many projects around Modern Arabic music like Bedouin Burger, Yalla Queen and two other collaborations around Jazz music to be revealed by the end of 2021.


Lucia Kagramanyan, Panorama Yerevan

Armenian-Austrian DJ and radio host Lucia Kagramanyan is behind the monthly NTS radio

show Panorama Yerevan. Digging through the archives of the Republic Radio of Armenia, she

presents lost compositions in Armenian and Levantine music, featuring everything from

classical and opera to folk and pop, matched with jazz and avant garde electronics.



Based in Ramallah, Makimakkuk is a Palestinian singer, MC, lyricist, producer and DJ whose

music is a heady mix of trip hop, folk, electronics and experimental hip hop.


Nesa Azadikhah & Zahra Khalaj

Nesa Azadikhah is a Tehran-based DJ, music producer, composer, sound artist, and musician. From playing tonbak and daf at the age of 16 in underground dance circles, she has established herself as one of Tehran's most in demand electronic music and sound artists and composers. She is the founder, owner and managing director of Deep House Tehran through which she promotes Iranian electronic musicians. 24-year-old Iranian visual artist Zahra Khalaj studied telecommunications engineering and mathematics. She started digital art four years ago after entering the world of theatre and new edge media art, beginning with video mapping and audio-visual performances. She’s now working with videography, motion graphics, 4D and visual videos.


Rasha Nahas

Berlin-based Palestinian singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Rasha Nahas creates unmistakable sonic landscapes; a vivid mélange of electric guitars, classical technique, and fierce yet intimate storytelling weaved with bold, unabashed poetry and howling violins. Her debut full-length album ‘Desert’, which she co-produced with her band, came out in 2021.


Sahar, DNA

DNA: Isle of Flame is the latest episode from the anti-revolution revolutionary recorded for HIYA LIVE. Sahar explores her own roots in real-time on the constant soul quest for completion. What happens when the past, the future, and the present align? A periodic force, a resonant frequency, the turning of a tide. Enjoy the ride. Eves’ Drop Collective, We Out Here Festival/ Reform Radio/ NTS.



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