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Manshur Praditya (L) playing his angklung that he bought all the way from his hometown in Indonesia, as a metro rider dances while onlookers enjoy the show Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Celebrating cultural diversity in a diverse city. This is the core message that the ongoing second edition of ‘Dubai Metro Music Festival’ wants to convey, organiser Brand Dubai said.

An eclectic group of 20 musicians from 17 countries – Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, France, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Syria, and the UAE – have banded together, sharing their musical talents and entertaining the crowd at five metro stations across Dubai daily since March 16.

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Monique, South African, performs during the Dubai Metro Music Festival at Union metro station on the second day of Dubai Metro Music Festival 2022. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

“The sheer variety of talent and creative accomplishment featured in Dubai Metro Music Festival makes a unique statement about Dubai’s ethos of diversity,” Shaima Al Suwaidi, city branding manager at Brand Dubai, told Gulf News.

“We’ve made sure of highlighting diversity when we selected the musicians because Dubai is a diverse city and we wanted to encourage them to come to Dubai and enjoy what the city has to offer.”

Universal language

Shaima added: “It is also through the universal language of music that we want everyone in Dubai, who come from diverse cultures, to connect with each other.”

There is no cultural barrier or need for any translation as the musicians only use their instruments, including violins, guitars, drums, cellos, saxophones, and flutes. Some are traditional ones like angklung (from Indonesia), steelpan drum (from Trinidad and Tobago), table (from India), in additional to their own vocal chords (beatbox) as well as instruments from recycled items.

“We have seen a lot of engagement from the audience,” Shaima said, adding that “commuters – young and old, expats, tourists and locals — stop by and gather around the performers. All of them are taking photos and videos with their smartphones, while some dance to the beat”.

Shaima Al Suwaidi Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News

Musicians in the mix

The artistes too are delighted to use the platform to connect with the city’s cosmopolitan audience. Dubai-based musician Yuri Martinez, who is from Cuba, said: “Dubai is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities and it provides a great environment for musicians to thrive. Its cultural dynamism gives artists a space to create and present their work to an appreciative audience. We fill their hearts and souls with good music.”

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Dubai Metro Music Festival Image Credit: Supplied

Justin Homer, from Trinidad and Tobago, said: “It always fills me with a sense of pride to perform on the steelpan, my national instrument, representing my country and culture in an international event. People enjoy dancing or tapping their feet to the beat.”

Indian classical musician Sandeepan Sankarankutty, who is enthralling crowds with his recitals on the tabla, said: “Playing music in a place thronged by large numbers of people amidst other urban sounds keeps both the music and musicians grounded and connected to the audience.”

Filipino performer Neil Rey Garcia Llanes, who won third-place in ‘Asia’s Got Talent Season 2’ as a human beatbox, said that music is both relaxing and energising.

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Jose Luis Torres, Ecuadorian, one-man band, perform at Expo 2020 metro station. Torres, captivated the crowd at the Expo 2020 Station as they wondered how a man can play simultaneously 12 musical instruments attached to his body, from head to foot. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Catch the show

Organised by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office, in partnership with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Metro Music Festival was first launched in 2019. The event this year is part of the ongoing #DubaiDestinations campaign that focuses on highlighting the exceptional experiences, events and activities of #DubaiArtSeason.

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Music continues at five metro stations – Expo 2020, Jabal Ali, Mall of the Emirates, Burjuman and Union metro stations – from 4pm until 10 pm until Tuesday.