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Stars return to Tunisia music fest after Covid break

Actors and dancers perform in the musical "Ocheg Eddenya" on opening night of the 56th edition of the International Festival of Carthage, July 14, 2022   -  
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FETHI BELAID/AFP or licensors


Ivorian reggae singer Alpha Blondy, Nigeria's CKay and K-pop band B.I.G are among the stars lined up for Tunisia's Carthage music festival which opens Thursday, after a two-year Covid-imposed recess.

The 56th Festival International de Carthage, one of North Africa's most prestigious music events, is returning under the slogan "we're coming back to life, we're breathing art".

The 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled as the pandemic ravaged Tunisia, but the festival is back with 33 shows at the Roman amphitheater in Carthage, capable of holding 12,000 spectators.

The festival kicks off Thursday night with a musical comedy by Tunisian film director Abdelhamid Bouchnak, and is also to feature renowned Iraqi oud player Naseer Shamma, and Tunisian singers Saber Rebai and Balti, and Egyptian pop star Shirine.

"Festivals returning means energy returning to our lives," said Youssef Lachkhem, the head of Tunisia's government culture agency.

The festival will pause for two days for the July 25 referendum on a constitution promoted by President Kais Saied, a year after he staged a dramatic power grab in the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings, in what opponents label a coup.

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