Celebrate Erie: Arabic Song and African Dance at Celebrate Erie on Sunday

Tuesday Aug 15th, 2023

Arabic Song and African Dance at Celebrate Erie on Sunday

From 5:15 - 6:00 p.m. the Erie-based trio Watan will perform. Watan is comprised of Mustafa Albalkhi on oud (a kind of lute), Nibal Abd El Karim on vocals, and Belal Al Dehnah on doumbek (a hand drum). Watan is the Arabic word for home and they present traditional and popular songs from the Arab speaking world. The music ranges from heart wrenchingly beautiful to joyously rhythmic. Nibal says, “You may not understand our lyrics in Arabic, but the melody will  talk to you.  Music is like food. If you don’t try it, you won’t know the taste…Music reminds me that life is short and to focus on what is most important.” 

Watan Trio 1

From 6:30 - 7:15 p.m. Victoria Angelo and her children will present an African dance performance and workshop. Victoria learned dance growing up in Uganda and South Sudan. She says, “We Acholi and Lulubo people do not sing and dance for fun alone. It is used by our entire community to both celebrate and mourn. It is how we keep our tradition, culture and history. You can burn a book. Your phone battery can die, but the songs in our hearts and brains are safe. I want people to see the movement of my culture. It is interesting and fun. They can also try to dance a bit with me. It helps us be healthy, too.”

Untitled design 63

Celebrate Erie is run by the Mayor’s Office and is a three day celebration of Erie food, art, and music. The Family Stage is on East Perry Square just south of the fountain.


Both presentations are possible through support from

NEA Logo 2018 Horizontal Logo with url2

Erie Arts & Culture

Keep in touch with the arts!

Join our mailing list to stay in the loop on culture and creativity in the region!