Dubai: If you’re a train commuter in Dubai, perhaps you’ve noticed musical performances staged by an eclectic mix of musicians — including those who play instruments made of recycled materials.
It’s also a good reason to use the train to get from point A to point B within the city.
That’s the third edition of Dubai Metro Music Festival for you. Like every year, the festival brings together interesting musicians from all over the world — and from the UAE — to perform at five metro stations of Dubai.
This year, the global music initiative is being held across five stations — Union, Burjuman, Mall of the Emirates, DIFC and SOBHA Realty.
The festival is a collaboration between Brand Dubai, the creative arm of Dubai Media Office, and Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) and runs from March 6 to 12.
“The Dubai Metro Music Festival aligned with the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to create a vibrant environment in the emirate for art, music and culture to flourish,” said Amina Taher, Senior Executive Marketing, Brand Dubai.
The Festival forms part of the ongoing #DubaiDestinations campaign focused on highlighting the exceptional experiences, events and activities of #DubaiArtSeason.
She added: “This year, the theme for the Festival revolves around sustainability. We picked artistes around the world with a vision of sustainability,” Taher told Gulf News.
“The third edition of the Metro Musical Festival is a testament to Dubai’s ability to offer a platform for musicians from across the world to showcase their talent, while also highlighting the message of sustainability to inspire the community to be more eco-conscious, in line with the UAE’s announcement of 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’.”
An interesting feature of this year’s edition showcases musicians who turned scrap into musical instruments.
“The recycled instruments featured in the Festival have added a whole new dimension to the event this year. They are encouraging audiences to embrace sustainability in fresh creative ways. The programme for this year’s Metro Musical Festival was designed to present to audiences a delightful fusion of creative expression and environmental consciousness,” added Taher.
Meet the performers
This year, a unique performance at the festival is Nicolas Bras. A gifted musician for 30 years, he has been making music since he was seven years old.
“I started inventing instruments from materials around my house, community,” said Bras who was performing at the Union Station on Thursday.
Bras was performing with his sustainable instruments made from plumbing pipes, scrap wood and metal. He also makes instruments out of tin cans.
Bras mesmerised audiences with his instruments and the variety of notes he touched. Some string, wind, and percussion were all at play at the Union Station.
Passion for music
“I believe music is not only about playing an instrument, it is about creating one as well,” said Bras.
“I am thrilled to participate in the Dubai Metro Music Festival and showcase my handmade instruments to the world.”
Stations: Union, Mall of Emirates, Burjuman, Dubai Financial Centre, and Sobha Realty
Timings: from 4 pm to 10 pm
Rotation: All the performances are rotated across the week-long festival to cover the five metro stations.
No surprises here as Bras picked the curiosity of the audience from children to adults. They all wanted to know more how the instruments were made.
“I am passionate about my craft and what you see around me is a testament to that. My instruments are not only visually stunning but they produce music that inspires creativity and wonder.”
Another band in play at the festival is the ‘The Show Theatre’ from Thailand. The duo were playing at Mall of the Emirates on Thursday. This band, too, highlights sustainability, enthralling their audience with their performance.
They came with kitchenware, pots, spoons, glass, pans blenders, ladders all the way from Thailand to showcase their music creation at the Dubai Metro Music Festival.
Their performances combined percussion, movement and visual comedy. Apart from the innovative use of recycled materials, a refreshing blend of traditional and contemporary dance forms made their performances stand out.
“Our purpose has always been to inspire environmental awareness and responsibility by highlighting the use of disposable materials. We are excited to bring our show to the Dubai Metro Music Festival and hope to inspire others to be more eco-conscious,” a member of the group said.
Two other artists performing at the Mall of the Emirates regaled the Dubai Metro users. Australian John Bouttigieg, 25, has come all the way from Cairns near the Great Barrier Reef.
“I play with two guitars one on my laptop and one upright. It just adds to the sound effect more. The audience particularly has loved watching me play guitar this way.”
Bouttigieg said his dream was to see the Burj Al Arab. He said he felt happy and lucky to have been picked to perform at the festival and that he can now fulfill his dream.
Flute, ukelele artists
Pakistani expat Faraz Ahmad, a flute artist and a music composer said he has been enjoying his stint at the festival.
“It is a great opportunity. It is the art and music season now and we are all busy. It is great that Dubai encourages art and music. Artists like us are able to enjoy opportunities like this as a result.”
Dutch Boris Mogilevski played a unique instrument ukulele at the Festival. “This instrument has its origins in Portugal, but people associate it as a small guitar,” he told Gulf News. “Music is my first language and I am happy to showcase it here.”
Flute composer Annetta Morozova travels the world with her music. Morozova is in Dubai to perform at the Festival. She is coming from St.Petersburg. “This Music Festival is special to me in more ways than one. I am meeting my father after three years in Dubai. He has flown down from France just for my performance.”