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A New Competition is Seeking Out the Best Simsimiyya Players

As part of the Ministry of Culture’s celebrations of Port Said as the Capital of Egyptian Culture for 2021, they're putting on a competition featuring the city's signature instrument.

You may not have heard of the simsimiyya before. No, it’s not that yummy, sticky sesame treat that pops up around al-Mouled al-Nabawy. Actually, it’s a traditional instrument dating back to Pharaonic times—widely popular today in the eastern Nile delta region.


Nowadays, this harp-like instrument resounds in the cafes of Port Said and Ismailiyya and the Egyptian government is paying special attention. The Egyptian Supreme Council of Culture announced that it is launching the “Playing and Singing on the Simsimiyya Instrument” competition in honour of this urban folklore. 


This competition comes as part of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture’s celebrations of Port Said as the Capital of Egyptian Culture for 2021. Given that the simsimiyya is at the heart of the lively urban popular music of Port Said, this competition aims to implement one of Egypt’s 2030 Sustainable goals, focused on promoting cultural heritage, development and the encouragement of musicians of all ages.


The Supreme Council of Culture stated that the deadline for participating in the competition is 25 May 2021 and the winners will be announced on May 31st 2021.