Music of the United Arab Emirates

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The music of the United Arab Emirates stems from the Eastern Arabia music traditions. Distinctive dance songs from the area's fishermen are also well-known. Liwa (or leiwah / leywah) is a type of music and dance performed mainly in communities which contain descendants of Bantu peoples from the African Great Lakes region.

Performers in the country include Mohammed Al Muhairi (better known as Mehad Hamad), Ahlam Ali Al Shamsi, and Hussain Al Jasmi.

The Emirati-American composer Mohammed Fairouz has been commissioned to premiere his fifth symphony at the Abu Dhabi Festival in 2020[1]

Original music in the UAE

The UAE houses a lively underground music scene, consisting mostly of expatriates. Concentrated in Dubai, the majority of local artists play rock and metal music. Some bands also play alternative styles of music such as ska, punk, house and experimental sounds.

Yassin Alsalman, better known by his stage name Narcy, was born in Dubai in 1982.

Canadian singer Karl Wolf lived in Dubai between the ages of three and seventeen, and has returned to perform in the UAE.[2]

Wissam Khodur, better known as the Syrian/Lebanese MC Eslam Jawaad, has been living in the UAE since 2011. In 2017 he appeared onstage with Gorrilaz, having previously worked with bandleader Damon Albarn on The Good the Bad and the Queen.[3]

Members of the psychedelic indie band Flamingods lived for a time in the UAE, and founder Kamal Rasool credits Dubai as a pivotal incubator and inspiration behind 2016's third album Majesty.[4]

In 2012 the UAE's only chain music retailer, Virgin Megastores, revealed a chart of the best-selling local acts to entertainment magazine Time Out Dubai.[5] Based on total sales of all combined releases, the list was nominally topped by Karl Wolf, with second and third places going to soul-pop quartet Abri and rock group Juliana Down, two of the first homegrown acts to achieve widespread recognition in the emirates.

In 2015 this concept was repeated in The National, which compiled a list of Virgin's 20 best-selling local releases of the past five years,[6] as well as breaking the chart down by genre.[7] With Wolf this time deemed exempt, the list was topped by Juliana Down's 2011 album Empires (Abri's two albums were released earlier in 2008 and 2009), followed by house-pop duo SickAsSwans' debut These Words and Nigerian-born urban act Ash Hamman's self-titled debut.

A year later The National updated the chart looking specifically at the best-selling releases of the past 12 months, revealing metal act Svengali to be the best-seller with debut Theory of Mind[8].

Among the UAE acts best-known internationally are metal band Nervecell.[9] Other hard rock acts from the UAE to tour internationally include E.Y.E.,[10] Point of View and Jay Wud,[11] who launched a fundraising campaign to finance sessions in Los Angeles for third album Transitions.[12]

In 2012 hard rock quintet Point of View launched their debut album Revolutionize the Revolutionary with a concert alongside Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal, then a member of Guns n' Roses, who appeared onstage performing songs by both bands.[13] Thal latter joined the band on a tour of India[14] and appeared onstage in Abu Dhabi wearing a "PoV" t-shirt.[15] Point of View's lead singer Nikhil Uzgare later branched out into Bollywood, recording a rock song as the theme to movie Iraada.[16]

Following the breakdown of Abri, eponymous lead singer Hamdan Al-Abri released a self-titled EP before joining funk-rock band Bull Funk Zoo in 2012, alongside guitarist Assaad Lakkis.[17] He later formed the popular cover band Abri & Funk Radius alongside jazz musicians Rony and Elie Afif, which released its first original music in 2017, debuting the single 'Sunny Daze',[18] and was the only UAE act invited to perform at the alternative music festival Wasla.[19] Meanwhile Lakkis has gone on to lead Bull Funk Zoo solo.[20] In 2017 Al-Abri also unveiled new music as a member of trio Abri & the Dream Fleet, collaborating alongside producers Megadon Betamax and Adriano K on the album We Fly.[21] The latter earlier produced a collection of South American folk songs, and curated an accompanying remix disc featuring contributions from international producers, released in 2012 as A L.A.S..[22]

After a period of inactivity, in 2015 Juliana Down frontman Dia Hassan released a debut solo single What is Love?.[23] Following the split of SickAwSwans, in the same year Clarita de Quiroz released her debut album Speak. Delete. Repeat.[24]

Formed in 2013,[25] house-pop duo Hollaphonic have received international note, recording fourth single Dangerous with featured vocals from British reality TV star Vince Kidd.[26]

Teenage pop singer Esther Eden has enjoyed significant local exposure after being handpicked by British star Jessie J to guest onstage at 2014's Redfest DXB festival; Eden was later signed by Universal Music MENA and performed as a solo artist at the same festival a year later.[27]

In 2015 hip-hop trio The Recipe launched a well-received comeback with the single Death to Get Here.[28]

Jazz and improvised music in the UAE

The UAE is also home to a small but productive collective of jazz musicians. Among the most celebrated is Lebanese pianist Tarek Yamani - whose third album Peninsular was premiered at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Festival[29] - and compatriots drummer Rony Afif[30] and his brother Elie Afif.[31]

Jordanian oud player and guitarist Kamal Musallam has released five albums fusing jazz and Arabic influences to date, and is consistently ranked among the UAE's bestselling acts.[32] Musallam has performed with notable international musicians including Sting and Billy Cobham.[33] For 2009 album Lulu - a tribute to UAE heritage - he collaborated with Emirati folk group Sokoor Al Magabeel, as well as Abri.

Notable releases

Below is an alphabetical list of UAE-based artists who have released original material commercially:

  • Abri - Albums: Sunchild (2008), Blank Notes (2009)[34]
  • Abri & the Dream Fleet - Album: We Fly (2017)[35]
  • Absolace - Albums: Resolve(d) (2010), Fractals (2012)[36]
  • Adriano K - Album: A L.A.S. (2012)[37]
  • Alison Andrews - Album: Love's a Cure (2011)[38]
  • Anuryzm - Album: Worm's Eye View (2011)[39]
  • ARS Trio - Album: Time (2015)[40]
  • Ash Hamman - Album: Ash Hamman (2013)[41]
  • Beat Antenna - EP: Half Now, Half Later (2009)[42]
  • Behold the Locus – Album: Behold the Locus (2010)[43]
  • Benevolent – Album: The Covenant (2014)[44]
  • Billy Bob's Blood Drenched Brew - Album: The Split (2012)[45]
  • The Boxtones - Album: In the Pockets of Clowns (2014)[46]
  • Bull Funk Zoo - Albums: Bull Funk Zoo (2013), Dangerous Radio (2016)[47]
  • Clarita de Quiroz - Album: Speak.Delete.Repeat (2015)[48]
  • Coat of Arms - Albums: This is Manslaughter (2011), Sun and Satellites (2013), DVD: Nobody Knows (2011)[49]
  • Craig Perry - Album: Jigsaw Repeat (2016)[50]
  • Dahab - Albums: Spirit of Sinai (2009), Qabeela'h (2011)[51]
  • Danny Shirran - Album: Long Time Comin' (2013)[52]
  • DaVinci Park - Album: Overlooking Florence (2016)[53]
  • DD Foxx – Album: Had to Be Me (2012)[54]
  • Desert Heat - Album: When the Desert Speaks (2008)[55]
  • Dwight DickersonGlimpses (2011)[56]
  • Elie Afif - Album: Giant Steps to Heaven (2011)[57]
  • Esther Eden - Album: Solitaire (2014)
  • E.Y.E. - Albums: Empty Yard Experiment (2011), Kallisti (2014)[58]
  • Fatiniza - Albums: Confusion (2010), Nothing is Impossible (2012)[59]
  • Fat Randall - EP: Keep it Down (2016)[60]
  • Gandhi's Cookbook - EP: In the Cesspool of Culture (2008)[61]
  • Gayathri - Album: The Unknown (2013)[62]
  • Hollaphonic - Album: Personal Space (2015)[63]
  • Illmiyah - Album: Stereotyped (2012)[64]
  • Jay Wud - Albums: False Utopia (2012), Transitions (2017)[65]
  • Jennifer Gove - EP: This is my Dirt (2009)[66]
  • Jonas Desai - EP: Get me Out (2008), album: A Weight Off my Mind (2008)[67]
  • Juliana Down - Albums: Cause and Affect (2006), Empires (2011)[68]
  • Kamal Musallam - Albums: On a Jordan River's Side (2003), Out of my City (2008), Lulu (2009), Songs for Seung-eun (2011),[69] Homemade in Rome (2014)[70]
  • Khaleefa - Mixtape: WHAT NOW (2016)[71]
  • Kicksound - EP: Kicksound (2015)[72]
  • Malika - Albums: Tarabu (2005), Sand Star (2011)[73]
  • Moh Flow - EP: Inspired (2014), Album: This is Yo(u) (2017)[74]
  • Moonshine - EP: Moonshine (2010)[75]
  • Muhaisnah Four - Album: A Memoir (2017)[76]
  • Naree - Albums: I'm no Fool (2004), Proud (2005), In This Life or the Next (2007), Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (2009), Naree - The Soundtrack (Vol. 1) (2010)[77]
  • Nervecell - EP: Human Chaos (2004), Albums: Preaching Venom (2008), Psychogenocide (2011),[78] Past, Present... Torture (2017)[79]
  • Nightmare Overdose - EP: We're All Strangers (2014)[80]
  • Nikotin - EP: Short of Panodrama (2009), Album: Panodrama (2014)[81]
  • Obselion - EP: The Calm Fire (2012)[82]
  • Palayan - Album: Metanoia (2017)[83]
  • Point of View - Album: Revolutionize the Revolutionary (2012)[84]
  • Riff Raff - Album: By the Seat of Our Pants (2012)[85]
  • Rony Afif - Album: Zourouf (2014)[86]
  • RoubaMama’s Back (2013)[87]
  • Sandwash - Album: Master Blaster Hole (2010)[88]
  • SickAsSwans - Album: These Words (2012)[89]
  • Sho? - EP: I Don't Wanna Go (2010)[90]
  • Svengali – Album: Theory of Mind (2015)[91]
  • Tarek Yamani - Album: Ashur (2012), Lisan Al Tarab: Jazz Conceptions in Classical Arabic (2014), Peninsular (2017).[92]
  • The Flaming Trees - EP: Soldier (2009)[93]
  • The Recipe - Album: Funerals & Purgatory (2017)[94]
  • Tim Hassall - Album: Oh Restless Heart (2010).[95] Gallatin (2014)[96]
  • The Gypsy Swing Project - Album: Paris-Dubai (2014)[97]
  • Khaleefa - Mixtape: DEATH ROW (2016)[98]
  • TSVET REPTILIA - Demo: Revel in Oblivion (2013), EP: Nomen Mihi Legio Est, Quia Multi Sumus (2015), Album: Venomous Transparent (2017)[99]
  • Vandalye - EP: From the Beginning (2016)[100]
  • Vin Sinners - Album: An Element of Surprise (2011).[101] A Mighty Black Box (2014)[102]

See also

References

  • Badley, Bill. "Sounds of the Arabian Peninsula". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 351–354. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
  • Maho M. Sebiane, « Le statut socio-économique de la pratique musicale aux Émirats arabes unis : la tradition du leiwah à Dubai », Chroniques yéménites, 14, Numéro 14, 2007.
  1. ^ "Emirati composer Mohammed Fairouz dazzles New York City's Carenegie Hall". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  2. ^ "Karl Wolf in Dubai". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  3. ^ "Damon Albarn's Arabic rapper of choice is set to reprise a link founded in Syria". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  4. ^ "Flamingods' Kamal Rasool credits Dubai for inspiring new album Majesty". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  5. ^ "10 best-selling UAE acts ever". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  6. ^ "The top 20 best-selling albums by UAE artists since 2010". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  7. ^ "A look at the UAE music scene and the 20 best-selling albums by local artists since 2010". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  8. ^ "Revealed: The best selling UAE acts". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  9. ^ "UAE metal titans Nervecell reveal details of long-awaited third album". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  10. ^ "Empty Yard Experiment kick off UK tour". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  11. ^ "jaywud | TOUR". jaywud. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  12. ^ "Jay Wud get ready to rock on their own terms". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  13. ^ "Guns N' Roses' Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal in Dubai". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  14. ^ "Guns N' Roses' Bumblefoot interview". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  15. ^ "A decade of adoration for Guns N' Roses in the UAE". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  16. ^ "Dubai rocker Nikhil Uzgare records official theme song for Bollywood movie Iraada". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  17. ^ "Bull Funk Zoo in Dubai". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  18. ^ "UAE super-group Abri & Funk Radius unveil first single Sunny Daze". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  19. ^ "Why UAE-based acts Gaya, Funk Radius, The Recipe, and more are finding it harder to breakthrough to mainstream". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  20. ^ "'Bona fide veterans of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix' Bull Funk Zoo on performing at Beats on the Beach". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  21. ^ "UAE super-group Abri & the Dreamfleet take flight with debut single". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  22. ^ "Talking tango and beats with Adriano K". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  23. ^ "Juliana Down assure fans the show will go on". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  24. ^ "Musician Clarita de Quiroz on how fate led her to Dubai, love and an album deal". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  25. ^ "Fast and loose with Hollaphonic". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  26. ^ "Hollaphonic on Dubai show: 'hopefully it will inspire more local talent to make their own music'". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  27. ^ "Dubai teenager Esther Eden balances school with promising music career". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  28. ^ "Hip-hop trio The Recipe are back after a three-year hiatus with a new single". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  29. ^ "Review: Jazz-meets-Khaleeji rhythms in Tarek Yamani's new album Peninsular, premiered at Abu Dhabi Festival". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  30. ^ "Jazz group Rony Afif 4tet keep it real with album performance in Dubai". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  31. ^ "Elie Afif interview". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  32. ^ "10 best-selling UAE acts ever". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  33. ^ "Kamal Musallam on playing with Sting, meeting John McLaughlin, and a whirlwind two years". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  34. ^ Abri - official website
  35. ^ "UAE super-group Abri & the Dreamfleet take flight with debut single". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  36. ^ Absolace - official website
  37. ^ "Talking tango and beats with Adriano K". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  38. ^ Alison Andrews - official website
  39. ^ Anuryzm - official website
  40. ^ "Three of UAE's best in jazz come together to form ARS Trio". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  41. ^ Ash Hamman - official website
  42. ^ Beat Antenna - official website Archived 2012-03-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  43. ^ "A look at the UAE music scene and the 20 best-selling albums by local artists since 2010". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  44. ^ "A look at the UAE music scene and the 20 best-selling albums by local artists since 2010". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  45. ^ Billy Bob's Blood Drenched Brew - official website
  46. ^ The Boxtones - official website
  47. ^ "'Bona fide veterans of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix' Bull Funk Zoo on performing at Beats on the Beach". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  48. ^ "Musician Clarita de Quiroz on how fate led her to Dubai, love and an album deal". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  49. ^ Coat of Arms - official website
  50. ^ "Dubai musician Craig Perry's journey from Street to Stage competition to studio for A-listers and beyond". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  51. ^ Dahab - official website
  52. ^ Danny Shirran - official website
  53. ^ "Abbo Abbondandolo – from a solo artist to the lead vocalist of rock group DaVinci Park". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  54. ^ "DD Foxx Layal Halabi in Dubai". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  55. ^ Desert Heat - official website
  56. ^ "A look at the UAE music scene and the 20 best-selling albums by local artists since 2010". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  57. ^ "Elie Afif interview". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  58. ^ E.Y.E. - official website Archived 2013-10-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  59. ^ Fatiniza - official website
  60. ^ "Dubai rockers Fat Randall move with the times to keep spirit of punk alive". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  61. ^ Gandhi's Cookbook - official website Archived 2013-06-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  62. ^ Gayathri - official website
  63. ^ "Hollaphonic, Personal Space". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  64. ^ Illmiyah - official website Archived 2012-09-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  65. ^ "Jay Wud". Discogs. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  66. ^ Jennifer Gove - official website
  67. ^ Jonas Desai - official website
  68. ^ Juliana Down - official website
  69. ^ Kamal Musallam - official website
  70. ^ "The UAE's hottest new music". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  71. ^ Khaleefa - official Soundcloud
  72. ^ "Album review - Kicksound - Kicksound". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  73. ^ Malika - official website
  74. ^ "How Dubai-based Moh Flow, a former rapper, found his true voice as a singer-songwriter". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  75. ^ Moonshine - official website
  76. ^ "Filipino musician Cromwell Ojeda on what motivates him, his latest project Muhaisnah Four, and performing at D3". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  77. ^ Naree - official website
  78. ^ Nervecell - official website
  79. ^ "New Nervecell Album "Past, Present...Torture" Out Summer 2017 - Metal bell Magazine". Metal Bell Magazine. 2017-06-09. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  80. ^ Nightmare Overdose - official website
  81. ^ Nikotin - official website
  82. ^ Obselion - official website
  83. ^ "The sound of catharsis". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  84. ^ Point of View - official website
  85. ^ Riff Raff - official website
  86. ^ "Zourouf, by Rony Afif". Rony Afif. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  87. ^ "A look at the UAE music scene and the 20 best-selling albums by local artists since 2010". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  88. ^ Sandwash - official website
  89. ^ "SickasSwans interview". Time Out Abu Dhabi. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  90. ^ Sho? - official website
  91. ^ "Heavy metal band Svengali is creating a buzz with their music". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  92. ^ "DISCOGRAPHY". TAREK YAMANI. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  93. ^ The Flaming Trees - official website
  94. ^ "Funerals & Purgatory, by The Recipe". The Recipe. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  95. ^ Tim Hassall - official website
  96. ^ "Tim Hassall – Gallatin album review". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  97. ^ "The UAE's hottest new music". Time Out Dubai. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  98. ^ Khaleefa - official Sound Media
  99. ^ Tsvet Reptilia - official website
  100. ^ "Indie-folk trio Vandalye on their rise in the UAE's music scene". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
  101. ^ Vin Sinners - official website
  102. ^ "Dubai-based rock band Vin Sinners sign to Universal". The National. Retrieved 2018-07-17. 
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