From Senegalese pop to Ethio Jazz, Sharjah’s Africa Hall concerts celebrates the musical diversity of a continent
Four artists to see at Africa Hall in September
To celebrate the rebuilding of Africa Hall in Sharjah, some of the continent’s biggest, most influential artists have been enlisted to perform at the venue for what will surely be one of this year’s most vibrant music festivals.
“In celebration of the re-opening of the historic Africa Hall, we wanted to ensure that the rich diversity of Africa and the African diaspora was represented,” says Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, president and director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, who is leading the initiative. “The iconic musicians performing at the opening are true artists in their respective genres.”
In addition to Oumou Sangare’s Thursday night show, here are the other African stars taking the stage:
Wednesday, September 26
Cancel whatever plans you have and make sure you hit the road early, as this show is unmissable. The Senegalese artist is renowned for his expansive vocal range. He popularised the Senegalese music form of mbalax, which blends traditional vocal styles with Cuban and Latin American rhythms. He became a world music star after he sang on Peter Gabriel’s 1986 hit In Your Eyes and the 1994 worldwide chart-topper Seven Seconds with Neneh Cherry.
Friday, September 28
The Ethiopian jazz legend is known as the father of the Ethio-jazz genre, which has him blending the melodies of his homeland with western jazz styles. “There are five notes to compose Ethiopian music. Ethio-jazz is basically using those five notes and putting it together on top of the other 12 [the standard 12-note chromatic scale]” he told The National in 2015. “This is not so easy. I am trying to combine both, but at the same time, keep the beauty, harmony, sounds and character of Ethiopia.”
Saturday, September 29
A Grammy Award nominee, and daughter of jazz great Nina Simone, Lisa Simone went on to shine in her own light by performing and recording her own brand of introspective soul, which can be heard in her latest album, My World. Simone was also the vocalist for the acid jazz band Liquid Soul, and she has performed in productions including the opera Aida as well as the musical Les Miserables.
Sunday, September 30
The American singer has Ugandan and Rwandan heritage. In her two-decade career, she has built an eclectic music style that she refers to as “New African Jazz.” Her sterling 2013 album, The Lagos Music Salon, not only debuted on top of the US jazz music charts, but also featured guests including singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo and rapper Common. Her latest album, Petite Afrique, is a concept record based on the large African community living in the New York neighbourhood of Harlem.
All shows are performed at Africa Hall, located opposite Sharjah Central Post Office, at 9pm. Tickets start from Dh60 from www.ticketmaster.ae