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Abu Dhabi: Whether it’s singing, poetry, stand-up comedy, or any other spoken talent, a community group based in Abu Dhabi is encouraging residents to share their artistic flair, providing them with the platform and opportunity to unleash their hidden skills with a live audience.

“Echoes Abu Dhabi is an open microphone event that we started this year; the goal of our group is to cater to spoken artists who want to share their talent with other people, and so we wanted to create a space and environment where they could be comfortable and at ease to do just that,” said Angel Cruz, who co-founded the group along with her Filipina compatriot Belle Ramos.

“Our events are open to everybody, the artists who want to take part can be new artists who have never stood in front of an audience to perform before — many of our performers in fact have normal day jobs as well — and so our events give them the chance to perform,” she added.

Cruz said that the group holds their monthly events at Shabby Cafe, with the events split into two parts.

“The first half of the event is an open mic for new artists, the people who have never done this before, so we open the stage for them to perform their own songs which they have written themselves or they recite their own poems.

The open mic event at Echoes Abu Dhabi lets ordinary people perform songs they have written themselves, or they can recite their own poems.

“At our last event, we had a performer who did a stand-up comedy routine, so the open mic event is really catered to a variety of artistic performances — it can be singing, poetry, or as in this case comedy,” she added.

“The second half of the event features local artists in the UAE, we want to give them a spotlight for their work because for many upcoming artists, it’s usually platforms like this that allow them to introduce and identify themselves,” she said.

Cruz said that the events get up to 65 people attending, with attendees and performers coming from several different cultures and backgrounds, creating a strong melting pot.

“We have people from all countries, we have Arabs, Asians, Europeans, and Africans, it’s really a complete mix,” she said.

“It’s really positive to gather so many cultures in one space because you get to connect and discover new things, and it also makes the art performances much more interesting because the art of each country and culture is different,” she added.

“A song or poem written by someone from an Arab country is going to be different than say someone from Europe or Asia. All these countries have gone through different histories and even have different cultures, so it’s overwhelming to witness this diversity of art gather in one place. It’s unique and you don’t often get to have that opportunity,” she said.

Cruz said that the goal of the group is to keep growing and to attract more people to attend their events, whether to perform or watch, and that the next ambitious step for the group was to invite artists from other countries to connect with the local talent in the UAE.

“The plan is to invite artists from different countries like the Philippines or America to Abu Dhabi so that the artists over here can connect with them; they can even be visiting the UAE and so we would obviously like to network with them, and together these range of artists can really just learn from one another, to explore and discover the differences between them and their craft,” she said.