Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 May 2020

Sami Yusuf and El Seed to headline series of online Ramadan performances

Organised by the Abu Dhabi Music and Art Foundation, the events will be streamed on social media

Sami Yusuf will perform a selection of his key works in his online Ramadan concert. ADMAF
Sami Yusuf will perform a selection of his key works in his online Ramadan concert. ADMAF

Singer Sami Yusuf and artist eL Seed are two of the names taking part in a series of new online performances.

Launched by the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (Admaf), the organisation behind this year’s postponed Abu Dhabi Festival, the online series of events will take place during Ramadan.

Running from Tuesday, May 5 until Wednesday, May 13, the series will feature events streamed live on Facebook and Instagram, covering a range of disciplines including Islamic spiritual music, opera and performance art.

Running as part of Admaf's Culture is Humanity, in Solidarity, digital campaign, the organisation’s founder, Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, says the series aims to highlight the important role that art and culture can play during uncertain times.

“Culture is the beating heart of human existence. It has always played a vital role in the development of civilisations and individuals alike in a common human language, an avenue of understanding and an invitation for dialogue.” she says.

“In the midst of the current pandemic, as many things have changed, this does not mean that we cannot still experience culture and the arts, engage in the exchanges that foster diversity and openness toward others, or observe the religious traditions that are part of who we are.”

As the curator of the inaugural series, Alkhamis says the artists chosen all have a body of work that exemplifies the key qualities of the holy month.

“Our first ever Ramadan series takes its inspiration from the spirit of this blessed month, to come together as one, at a time when we need it most,” she says.

“These performances, so full of beauty, inspiration and creativity, offer solidarity in the shared experience of what it means to be human.”

Here is a breakdown of the performances coming our way.

Tuesday, May 5, and Monday, May 11: Hiba Al Kawas (10pm on Admaf's Facebook Page)

Lebanese soprano and composer Hiba Al Kawas has had her work performed by the prestigious Bolshoi State Theatre Symphony Orchestra. ADMAF
Lebanese soprano and composer Hiba Al Kawas has had her work performed by the by the prestigious Bolshoi State Theatre Symphony Orchestra. Courtesy Admaf

The Lebanese soprano and composer is regionally acclaimed for her deft merging of western classical music with traditional Middle Eastern melodies.

As a concert artist she is in demand, having performed with the likes of the City of London Sinfonia orchestra and Amsterdam's Nieuw Ensemble. She also shared the stage with Spanish tenor Jose Carreras in Dubai, as part of the second anniversary of the Dubai International Financial Centre in 2006.

As a composer, she has had more than 20 of pieces performed by the prestigious Bolshoi State Theatre Symphony Orchestra, the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra and the Dnipropetrovsk Symphony Orchestra-Ukraine

Thursday, May 7: eL Seed and Diaa Allam (9.30pm on El Seed’s Instagram account)

French Tunisian painter El Seedwill team up with Emirati artist Diaa Allam for an interactive piece of performance art. ADMAF
French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed will team up with Emirati artist Diaa Allam for an interactive piece of performance art. Courtesy Admaf

French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed teams up with Emirati artist Diaa Allam for what will exciting piece of performance art. Titled This Too Shall Pass, the dynamic duo will channel the thoughts and feelings shared by social media followers on the live feed into impromptu works of art using various disciplines ranging from paint to street art.

The aim of the piece is to provide an avenue to give voice to the anguish and uncertainty we all feel at this present moment.

Saturday, May 9: Sheikh Mahmoud El Tohamy (9.30pm on Admaf's Facebook Page)

Sheikh Mahmoud El Tohamy is a master practitioner of Sufi chants. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation
Sheikh Mahmoud Tohamy is a master of Sufi chants. Courtesy Admaf

If you weren't able to attend NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Centre's Sufism vs Modernism concert last May, then you don't want to miss this.

Similar to that event, the magnificent Egyptian devotional singer Sheikh Mahmoud El Tohamy will perform a range of stirring prayers and poems from Islam’s Sufi tradition paired to traditional and western-style compositions. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the words or the significance of the pieces, as El Tohamy’s aim has always been to move you.

Wednesday, May 13: Sami Yusuf (9.30pm on Admaf's Facebook Page)

Sami Yusuf songs takes its inspiration from Islamic history and spirituality. Antonie Robertson / The National
Sami Yusuf's songs take inspiration from Islamic history and spirituality. Antonie Robertson / The National

Dubbed "Islam's biggest rock star", the award-winning British songwriter and instrumentalist will conclude the Ramadan series with a bespoke concert titled Journey of Solidarity. The intimate set will feature pieces inspired by both Islamic history and spirituality, such as Hasbi Rabbi, Meditation, You Came to Me and the soaring The 99 Names.

More information is available at www.admaf.org

Updated: May 7, 2020 07:35 PM

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