Music and art are always in fashion on the UAE culture card and the upcoming week is no different.
Spontaneous and eclectic
Eclecticism is the flavour du jour at the French-organised Fête de la Musique event in Dubai tonight. The yearly festival, also known as World Music Day, has taken place on June 21 in France every summer since 1982. Since then it has spread to more than 120 different countries around the world and the UAE wasn't a late starter - this year will see the 11th edition of the festival in Dubai. This year's line-up boasts music from various different traditions, including Arabic, Irish, jazz, blues, pop and classical and the event will take place at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
Fête de la Musique aims to allow all people with a love for music to gather, listen or take part in performances. This year, Dubai Drums will play in the amphitheatre and visitors with a spontaneous streak will be encouraged to get involved. Like all Fête de la Musique events throughout the world, admission is free. Acts of spontaneity will also be on offer Dubai's B21 Gallery, with an exhibition of works by the Iranian artist Farshid Maleki. However, this time members of the public will not be asked to contribute. Now in his sixties, the artist is known for his explosive graffiti-style streams of consciousness, created with brightly coloured pens and markers. The scribbled pieces are largely abstract, but do contain recognisable characters and forms. Entitled (No) Improvisation the exhibition's first full day begins tomorrow.
More musical globe-trotting later in the week with a show from the solo violinist Mohamad Hamami and Sharq Orchestra, presenting their playfully titled Sharq at the Ballroom show. The concert, which will take place at Dubai's First Group Theatre on Saturday will feature a fusion of Arabic music and western ballroom movements such as the waltz, tango, bolero and salsa. The group takes its inspiration from early meetings between eastern and western musicians and cites the introduction of European musical instruments into Egypt by Napoleon's military, or the interaction with the West after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, as early examples of these cross-cultural currents.
Hamami first performed live with the Sharq Orchestra, which includes 60 musicians from 22 countries, in June 2008, so this show is also an anniversary of sorts. Finishing up the week is a recently launched comedy night at the Hilton Abu Dhabi. The not-so-imaginatively named Comedy Club, will feature the British stand-up Eddy Brimson. A regular on the London circuit, Brimson has shared the stage with plenty of big-name acts, although it's his extra-curricular activities that make this man stand out.
Brimson worked as a sports writer and has seven books and a documentary to his name. He has also had a taste of pop success, playing bass for mid-1990s indie band The Morgans, co-created a board game, qualified as a hypnotherapist and acted as press officer for the UK anti-fox-hunting campaign. Let's just hope he's funny too.