Dubai: The creativity of the music scene in the Arab world is in the spotlight at the second edition of the Dubai Metro Music Festival, which ends on Tuesday.
Combining traditional rhythms drawn from the region’s centuries-old musical heritage with contemporary melodies and rhythms, Arab artists entertained metro commuters throughout the second edition of the festival, which kicked off on March 16.
With a culturally more diverse audience than anywhere else in the region, the Dubai Metro Music Festival offered opportunities for Arab musicians to increase their exposure and exposure. Five Dubai metro stations have been transformed into stages for musical performances by musicians of various nationalities and backgrounds.
Organized 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 part of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai to create a vibrant environment in the emirate for the flourishing of art, music and culture.
The festival is part of the ongoing #DubaiDestinations campaign focused on showcasing the outstanding experiences, events and activities of #DubaiArtSeason.
Anas AlHalabi, a multi-talented handpan artist and dynamic percussionist based in the United Arab Emirates, is thrilled to have the opportunity to share his music with the city’s cosmopolitan audience. Considered the first certified handpan teacher in the Middle East, AlHalabi has already performed in Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Georgia, in addition to other locations in the United Arab Emirates.
Teenage twin sisters Jeeda and Meera Hallak are two of the youngest Arab musicians at the event looking to get noticed at the Festival with their first foray into street music. Born in Syria and raised in Dubai, the Hallak sisters have been playing the violin since they were five years old. The violin duo that performed with the National Youth Orchestra of Dubai Opera was a big hit with the Festival audience.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this event and to perform our music in front of large crowds,” Jeeda said. “The Festival gives us a wonderful platform to experiment with different musical styles and perform in front of a cosmopolitan audience,” Meera said.
Other Arab musicians who have drawn large crowds to the Festival include Egyptian recorder beatbox artist Taj Al Din who goes by the pseudonym Al Taj. With a huge TikTok following of around 800,000, his fusion of Arabic and Western musical beats had Festival audiences tapping their feet. Based in Amman, Jordan, the artist has participated in many theatrical productions as a musician and actor.
Al Taj says the Dubai Metro Music Festival gives him the opportunity to showcase his unique style of beatboxing with specially curated tracks for the event. Perfect for urban audiences on the go, like commuters in Dubai’s metro stations, his performances blend Arabic and Western melodies into a harmonious whole.
Also from Egypt, Dubai-based guitarist Moe Bass presents his interpretations of pieces by great Arab musicians and composers at the Festival. Talking about performing in Dubai, he said, “It’s every Arab artist’s dream to perform in front of the multicultural audience in this city.”
Another Egyptian musician, Mohamed Hosni, showcases his multiple talents as a singer, oud player and songwriter, with his solo performances at the Festival.
Syrian musician Inas Halal, who plays the darbuka and other percussion instruments, also draws large crowds to the festival. Considered Syria’s first female percussionist, Halal is fascinated by the power of sound and vibration to improve health and well-being and relieve stress, depression and insomnia. The artist, who plays six instruments at the festival, including tabla, ludo, sundrum, bongos and kakhon, says Dubai provides a supportive platform for musicians to excel. “Dubai gives artists around the world the opportunity to express their creative vision and to evolve and grow as musicians,” she says.
Attend the show
Over 20 musicians from the UAE, the region and around the world perform at the Dubai Metro Music Festival. Performances take place at five Dubai Metro stations – Expo 2020 Dubai, Jebel Ali, Mall of Emirates, Burjuman and Union – from 4pm to 1pm. All performances are shot throughout the week-long festival to cover all five metro stations.
The festival is organized by Brand Dubai in partnership with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). LCC Waikiki is the official sponsor of the event.