Dubai, 2012: The Traffic Gallery has successfully wooed me, with its diverse range of arts activities during the last two weeks. My affair with Traffic is a recent one. It first started with the workshop on Creative Block is a Loser. This was closely followed by The Market of Everything. As if that wasn’t enough, I found myself at the Open Mic Platform (not as a performer albeit). Having stayed away from the performing arts scene of the UAE for way too long, I was happy enough to be a spectator. If you were at the Open Mic Platform like I was, I bet you were not disappointed. There was a balanced mix of some of the best performing arts talents that I’ve seen in recent months. Beatbox, Electron music, fusion Arabic music, stand up comedy, moving and insightful poetry and more! In collaboration with The Fridge, this event gets my full star rating.
The MC for this event was none other than established songwriter-singer-guitarist Sach Holden. A creative professional with a medicine/lifescience background like myself, Sach held the stage confidently and with great efficiency delivered introductions to the performers. After the event, I had to go to his website and listen to his music. Make a trip to his youtube channel – his singing voice is very rich, filled with great emotion whilst he plays the guitar. That’s how music and the arts should be anyway. Sing, dance, perform and paint from the heart. That’s the only way, I’ve learnt from experience, to touch and change people’s lives in magnificent ways.
As this is the first time that I’ve ever covered performing arts officially for this blog, I’ve decided to go full stream and write an extensive blog post to give you a flavour of the burgeoning Dubai performing arts scene. After all, the organisers, collaborators and performers deserve it.
Gypsy swing project
The Gypsy Swing Project is made up of talented Alex, Sammy and Laxmi. I noticed how they closed their eyes and let the music emerge from their inner core to tantalise the whole crowd. They played for us two tunes; Alex and Laxmi taking turns to play melodious string pieces; whilst Sammy kept the musical balance with the strong strumming (we learnt that Sammy loves collecting guitars).
The Gypsy Swing Project performs every Monday at Indo Thai, Radisson Royale, Sheikh Zayed Road.
Like the Gypsy Swing Project on facebook.
When you enter the Traffic Gallery premises, you will see a monumental installation of yellow helmets. The first group of people I thought about was the labourers. The installation was created by Rania Ezzat, who is a visual artist, curator and yogi. For this event Rania read her moving poem, the ‘Inner Revolution.’
I loved the way that she threw each paper on the flow after reading the text, in a muted manner which still caught my attention.
Somehow, I felt I was in a French jazz bar when Noura started to sing. The Doo-wap-te-doo and the Rum-pum-pa-da had me quite entranced.
Noura is an artist, vocalist and stage coach. She performed at the recent Sikka Art Fair (something that I missed as I was hanging around Art Dubai), where she performed ‘People Playing Music.’ If you are interested in ‘voice’ matters, pop by the Shelter in the beginning of May 2012, where she will be giving a talk on voice. Also, she will be giving courses on voice at ArtSawa every Monday evening in May. I may just go for one of them. She got me tempted to start singing again. So far, I have actively voiced my opinion through the art of the pen. Now, the art of the tongue and vocal cords is the next step in my explorative venture into the arts.
Visit Noura Sadaka‘s website.
Teacher, poet, stand-up comedian (and sometimes people thinks he’s the bouncer), Andre Reynolds’ Habibi-now-we-are-family rendition had us laughing our head off. For those folks who, like me, have lived in the UAE long enough, we could truly understand his sentiments.
Andre is part of the Comedy Lab and will be performing at Lounge Wish on the 28th of April 2012, with Jamal Iqbal, who was one of the dandy guys who held the Creative Block is a Loser workshop.
More details on Comedy Lab Dubai here.
Architect turned ibanez guitar maker and fusion guitarist, Kamal Musallam, is your man. He performed with Italian instrumentalist Fabiano and Laxmi on the bass. The first piece of music was very uplifting followed by a more melancholic ‘Blues for Eli.’ Being of Indian origin, but having lived in the UAE and the UK most of my life, I appreciate fusion music.
As the Cultural Arts Travelogue covers handcrafted aspects as well, I hope to catch up with Kamal sometime, to find out more about his handcrafting-the-oud process.
I never knew one could recite poetry with such intensity, power, imagination – deriving strength and emotion from perhaps past wounds and life’s experiences. Her poem Mr. Khaleeji Man shook the core of my being. This versatile creative was born in Riyadh, was raised in London and cool in Dubai.
I couldn’t find a website on this talented lady.
Born Simon van Baalen, he is known as Abbo on the music scene. Sach Holden described him as a hardworking musician who singlehandedly tours the world in search for inspiration and ‘music’ fun.
I love what Abbo says on his bio: that engineering is now his much loved hobby whilst music and photography are his passion. I know how he feels. My own transition from the medical field into the light of creative arts was a rough journey, but thankfully I have had the likes of the Dubai arts scene to dip my legs into and feel grounded enough to get past the roughcriticism into the light of ‘arts’ life.
Back to Abbo. He performed a piece of music – the lyrics that were written after someone told him they were going to commit suicide. Thankfully, the person didn’t commit suicide, he says. And thankfully for us, we got to hear a lovely piece of music dotted with a lot of Hey-You-s to listen to.
Visit Abbo‘s website.
Ray is the 2012 Middle-East Beatbox Champion. Why, oh why did I leave my videocam at home? This was one of the performances worth recording. The best way to keep in touch with his next performances is by liking Beatbox Ray‘s facebook page.
Sadly, the photo that I had taken of Namal was not clear at all. Apologies for this. Namal shared with us a poem. Short, sweet, but enough to give a peek into the life of this aspiring writer. She is another ex (by that I mean, she is an ex-banker) who blogs at Notions of Identity. Take a peek at her poetry at her blog.
Visit Namal Siddiqui‘s facebook page.
This is my first experience with Electron Music. I was wondering what Bhuvan was going to show us with the laptop. But that thought was wiped off when I heard the sitar and music mix coming out of the laptop and other electronic appliances that he had his hands on.
I learnt with interest that he did a workshop at the Electron Festival in Geneva where they made music with pieces of paper on a table (I have embedded the video below). He has been all over the world from Goa to Copacabana to Dubai (Sikka art fair collaboration) with this electron-ifying performances.
Catch Bhuvan Sachdeva on facebook.
And here questions of type such if honestly strike me not much as I wrote everything higher. It is visible you simply you don’t want to read all this. As my parrot does.