The alternative Arabic music festival Wasla returns to the UAE this weekend with its second edition. The full-day concert will take place at Dubai Design District (d3) on February 2. Here’s who you can expect to see.


Egyptian rock band Cairokee have been known to speak to the woes and dreams of the current generation. The band was formed in 2003 by childhood friends in Cairo, and last year, they released their single Nokta Beida.


Jordanian indie band Autostrad fuse together funk, rock, reggae and jazz, creating transcendent medleys that know no borders. The group, which formed in 2007, gets their inspiration from everyday life in Jordan, tackling a number of relevant struggles.


Solo acts Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh came together to release an eccentric record, Lekhfa. The album includes dystopian poems penned by Egyptian poet, and their fourth member, Mido Zoheir. The group is inspired by multiple genres, including Egyptian shaabi, electro-shaabi, pop and psychedelia.

Hayajan, ft. Alaa Wardi

Indie rock band Hayajan is made up of five members, who come from Jordan and Iran. Alaa Wardi was born to Iranian parents in Saudi Arabia. The cross-cultural group released their debut album Ya Bay in 2013, and has since been experimenting with an electronic, dance-ready sound, whilst staying true to their cultural roots.

Tania Saleh

Lebanese singer-songwriter Tania Saleh made a name for herself as a long-standing indie artist in the region. She has been experimenting with genres since her 1990s debut, mixing traditional sounds of tarab, mawwal and dabke with folk, alt-rock, Bossa nova and jazz. She tackles Lebanese and Arab sociopolitical issues in her lyrics.

Gnawa Diffusion

Algerian group Gnawa Diffus ion, based in France, mixes traditional Gnawa influences with reggae and roots rock. Frontman Amazigh — his name means ‘free man’ in Tamazight — was born to Algerian writer-poet Kateb Yacine, adding another dimension to his work.


Progressive fusion folk band Majaz began as an experimental project, and was formed only to play one show. But five years on and the Bahraini act is still rocking, with a metal-infused style. The group released their first EP last year.


*Tickets for Wasla are Dh245. Doors open at 2pm.