x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Toe-tapping in the sand at first Yasalam shows

Scores of people sat in the sand last night at the Corniche, listening to a jam session blending jazz and Arabic music opened the first of the free Yasalam concerts.

Myriam Fares performs at the Corniche during the F1 FanZone's Beats on the Beach.
Myriam Fares performs at the Corniche during the F1 FanZone's Beats on the Beach.

ABU DHABI // Scores of people sat in the sand last night at the Corniche, listening under the stars as a jam session blending jazz and Arabic music opened the first of the free Yasalam concerts. Jordan's Kamal Musallam Group, known for incorporating classical oud playing with modern jazz, set bare toes tapping before a line-up of other international acts from Lebanon and South Africa took the stage.

Sascha Ritter, 31, from Germany, snapped pictures of the jazz trio and said it was his second time watching the group perform. "I think they're pretty cool," said Mr Ritter, who also owns one of the group's records. "And it's really great that the entire event is free so everybody has a chance to come and enjoy." It was a family affair for Bilal Sharfoddin, 33, who laid a tarp and sat with his wife and children.

Mr Sharfoddin's three-year-old daughter, Aamerah, was especially looking forward to a performance by the Lebanese pop idol Myriam Fares, who was to perform the next set. "We came for Mariyam because to my daughter, it's the only music she knows," said Mr Sharfoddin, from South Africa. "We listen to her music all the time in the car." The South African Afro-fusion band Freshlyground also played, and the Lebanese singer Fares Karam was scheduled to close out the evening around midnight.

Yesterday's performances were the first of 17 live acts to play as part of Yasalam's five-night Beats on the Beach programme leading up to the Grand Prix. mkwong@thenationa.ae