Dubai: The creativity of the Arab world’s music scene is on show at the second edition of the Dubai Metro Music Festival, which concludes on Tuesday.
Combining traditional rhythms drawn from the region’s age-old musical heritage with contemporary melodies and beats, Arab artists have entertainment metro commuters throughout the second edition of the festival, which started on March 16.
With a culturally more diverse audience than anywhere else in the region, Dubai Metro Music Festival, has offered Arab musicians opportunities to raise their profile and exposure. Five Dubai Metro stations have been turned into stages for musical performances by musicians of various nationalities and backgrounds.
Organised by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office, in partnership with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the Dubai Metro Music Festival is aligned with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to create a vibrant environment in the emirate for art, music and culture to flourish.
The festival forms part of the ongoing #DubaiDestinations campaign focused on highlighting the exceptional experiences, events and activities of #DubaiArtSeason.
Anas AlHalabi, a multi-talented handpan artist and a dynamic percussionist based in the UAE is thrilled to have an opportunity to share his music with the city’s cosmopolitan audience. Considered the first certified handpan teacher in the Middle East, AlHalabi has previously also performed in Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Georgia, in addition to other venues in the UAE.
Teenaged twin sisters Jeeda and Meera Hallak are two of the youngest Arab musicians at the event seeking to make a mark at the Festival with their first foray into street-style music. Born in Syria and raised in Dubai, the Hallak sisters have been playing the violin since the age of five. The violin duo that has performed with the National Youth Orchestra at Dubai Opera, has been a big hit with audiences at the Festival.
“We are so excited to be part of this event and play our music in front of large crowds,” said Jeeda. “The Festival gives us a wonderful platform to experiment with different musical styles and perform in front of a cosmopolitan audience,” Meera said.
Among the other Arab musicians who have drawn big crowds at the Festival is the Egyptian flute recorder beatbox artist Taj Al Din who goes by the pseudonym Al Taj. With a huge TikTok following of about 800,000, his fusion of Arab and Western musical rhythms has got Festival audiences tapping their feet. Based in Amman, Jordan, the artist has participated in many theatre productions both as a musician and actor.
Al Taj says the Dubai Metro Music Festival offers him an opportunity to introduce his unique beatboxing style with pieces specially prepared for the event. Perfect for on-the-go urban audiences, such as commuters in Dubai Metro stations, his performances blend Arab and western melodies into a harmonious whole.
Also hailing from Egypt is Dubai-based guitarist Moe Bass who is presenting his renditions of the pieces of great Arab musicians and composers at the Festival. Speaking about performing in Dubai, he said: “It is the dream of every Arab artist to perform in front of this city’s multicultural audience.”
Another Egyptian musician, Mohamed Hosni, is bringing to the fore his multiple talents as a singer, oud player and songwriter, with his solo performances at the Festival.
Also drumming up large crowds at the festival is Syrian musician Inas Halal, who plays the darbuka and other percussion instruments. Considered the first female Syrian percussionist, Halal is fascinated with the power of sound and vibration to enhance health and wellbeing and relieve stress, depression and insomnia. The artist, who is playing six instruments at the festival including the tabla, ludo, sundrum, bongos, and the kakhon, says Dubai provides a supportive platform for musicians to excel. “Dubai gives performers from all over the world the opportunity to express their creative vision and evolve and grow as musicians,” she says.
Catch the show
Over 20 musicians from the UAE, the region and across the world are performing at the Dubai Metro Music Festival. Performances are staged at five Dubai Metro stations – Expo 2020 Dubai, Jebel Ali, Mall of Emirates, Burjuman and Union – from 4pm to 1pm. All the performances are rotated across the week-long festival to cover the five metro stations.
The festival is organised by Brand Dubai in partnership with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). LCC Waikiki is the official sponsor of the event.