Korean Folk-Pop band Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7) to debut in UAE
Korean Folk-Pop band Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7) to debut in UAE Image Credit: Supplied

Love Korean music? This weekend, Korean traditional folk-pop music band, Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7) will make its UAE debut in Abu Dhabi. The band will be seen performing on Saturday, February 4, at The Arts Center at NYU (New York University) Abu Dhabi. The multi-award winning group will be in the UAE for the seventh edition of the annual Barzakh Festival.

The band, ADG7, features powerhouse female folk singers fronting a band of traditional musicians. They are known for performing the minyo (traditional folk songs) of the Hwanghae-do region, one of the Eight Provinces of Korea during the Joseon era. The region is nowadays a western province of North Korea. The show is presented with the support of the Korean Cultural Center in the UAE.

Along with the Korean band, three other globally renowned groups will be featured in the two-night event on February 3 and 4 from 7:30pm at The East Plaza.

Day one of the festival, on Friday, February 3, will feature Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino (CGS), from Italy, and Lemma, from Algeria.

Now led by his award-winning multi-instrumentalist son, Mauro Durante, CGS were established in Puglia in 1975 by the writer Rina Durante, and are the first and most important group to produce popular Salentinian music from southern Italy. CGS have updated their sound to create a fascinating reinterpretation of tradition and modernity that revolves around the famous pizzica tarantata ritual, a popular Italian folk music that marked the ancient healing ritual against the bite of the dangerous tarantula spider.

Hailing from the Saoura region, a valley in southwestern Algeria, Lemma is a powerful all-female band that presents a joyful symphony of music genres from the spiritual to the earthy. They sing texts borrowed from the mystical odes and supplications from the hadra sessions, as well as passages from some well-known malhûn poetry texts. Their percussion draws from hidûss and hadra and is as much in the rhythm as in the darbouka or the bendir drums. Their rhythm is rich and comes in many genres, borrowing the rhythm of arûbi (a free and repetitive rhythm) and haddâwî (the rhythm of the wandering mystics of the Moroccan brotherhood of Sidi Haddi) as well as other rhythms and melodies from across the Maghreb.

The second day, Saturday, February 4, sees the two UAE debuts of Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7), from Korea, and Sahra Halgan, from Somaliland.

Sahra Halgan and her band further the eclectic theme, presenting a mix of original compositions and traditional Somali songs through distorted guitars, African percussion, and Halgan’s distinctive warbling vocals. She sings about love, gratitude, and rebuilding her nation, using poetry typical of the Somali language. Each member of the group brings their own distinctive background into the music; Aymeric Krol spent time in Bamako studying Malian percussions and uses his set of hand drums to drive the band; Mael Salètes’ distorted guitars and hypnotic riffs give a solid rock backbone; and keyboardist Graham Mushnik injects Golden Era psychedelia into the group’s sound.

According to a press release sent to Gulf News, the annual Barzakh Festival was created by The Arts Center as a meeting place of musical streams that cross diverse cultures.

Commenting on the lineup, The Arts Center Executive Artistic Director Bill Bragin said: “Barzakh Festival is one of the highlights of our annual music programming, and a personal favorite of mine as it represents the internationalism and cross-cultural conversations at The Arts Center’s core. The artists in this year’s edition are charismatic performers, with powerful female perspectives, whose music transcends boundaries. They have developed unique approaches to honoring their deep cultural traditions, putting them in cosmopolitan dialog with contemporary times to cut across heritage, generation, and style.

“In keeping with our theme for this season, ‘Stories’, each artist carries and extends the legacies of their cultural traditions. By juxtaposing artists across styles and backgrounds, we create new stories for the UAE.”

Tickets can be booked on www.nyuad-artscenter.org, according to the organisers.