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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Wasla Music festival offers an eclectic selection of regional acts

From left-field indie-pop to the groove ridden sounds of North African gnawa music, Wasla’s line up is healthy sample of the various sounds that make up the regional music scene.

L-R: Maurice Loca,Tamer Abu Ghazaleh and Maryam Saleh and Maurice Louca. The trio are set to release the joint album Lekhfa
L-R: Maurice Loca,Tamer Abu Ghazaleh and Maryam Saleh and Maurice Louca. The trio are set to release the joint album Lekhfa

From left-field indie-pop to the groove ridden sounds of North African gnawa music, Wasla’s line up is healthy sample of the various sounds that make up the regional music scene. Joining Jordanian rockers Autostrad and Bahraini fusion group Majaz are the following:

Lekhfa

The band is collaboration between three giants of the regional music scene; the Egyptian singer-songwriters Maryam Saleh and Maurice Louca with Palestinian multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. They channelled their various talent to deliver last year’s bewitching and critically eponymous debut album which marries social conscious lyrics with idiosyncratic vocals and arrangements. They are trippy and fun. Stage time: 12.15am (Saturday morning).

Tania Saleh

Ever since her 2002 self-titled debut, which is largely credited as helping to kick start Lebanon’s vibrant indie-music scene, Tania Saleh career has all been marked by fierce lyricism and adventurous song-writing. Her latest work Intersection is true to form, a collage of electro beats with lyrics taken from some of the finest Arabic writers of the 20th century. If that is isn’t compelling enough, the opportunity to dance along to a Khalil Gibran poem might do the trick. Stage time: 11pm

Cairokee

The Egyptian group’s success is a welcome shot in the arm of a stagnant Arab pop industry. Cairokee’s songs speak of real issues of unemployment and societal disenfranchisement that connects with the region’s youth. What saves the songs from being polemical is their vibrant arrangements which range from folk, pop and funk. Their latest album Noaata Beida is excellent. Stage time 9.30

Hayajan

A regional band in every sense. Hayajan is made of five members ranging from Jordan to Saudi Arabia. Led by Alaa Wardi the group possess a solid groove courtesy of Odai Shawagfeh and Mohammed Idrei and an arresting rhythm section of bassist Amjard Shahrour and drummer Hakam Abu Soud. Where earlier albums such as the 2013 debut Ya Bey was more rock oriented, Hayajan have been exploring more modern sounds of late with hints of dance and electronica. Stage time: 8.15pm

Gnawa Diffusion

The most experienced group of the lot, the France based Gnawa Diffusion has been successfully spreading the appeal of Gnawa Music across Europe for 25 years. Led by singer Amazigh, the band should have the crowd moving with their signature rumbling bass grooves and reggae laced tunes. Despite the fun however, the evocative lyrics are meant to provoke deeper thoughts on life. “I think we give people a perspective on the music of north Africa and give you also an insight into what’s happening to society there,” Amazigh told The National in a previous interview. “We want people to listen to the topics we are discussing and then be free to make their own opinion. Stage time: 5.15pm

Wasla is held at the Dubai Design District. Tickets are now available from Virgin Megastores from Dh245 and from the door at Dh295. For details got to tickets.virginmegastore.me. The first act takes the stage at 4pm.

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Read more:

Egyptian indie singer and actor Maryam Saleh on her new super group

The poetic licence of Arab indie scene leader Tania Saleh

Habibi Funk: rare tunes from Arabia

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