The Six: Spoken word scene in the UAE

Spoken word forums. (Shutterstock)
Updated 10 January 2019
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The Six: Spoken word scene in the UAE

DUBAI: Spoken word has been gaining traction in the UAE, with more and more “open mic” events being hosted in different venues across the country. Some are attended by a big crowd; others are more intimate. Here is a selection.

Punch Poetry
Founded by award-winning Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck, this open-mic night in Dubai started in 2013, the same year Beck won a Backwaters Prize for her “To Live in Autumn” poetry collection about Beirut.

Rooftop Rhythms
One of the more popular groups, Rooftop Rhythms is based in Abu Dhabi, and was founded by poet and educator Dorian Paul Rogers. It promotes community-based arts and culture through its regular gatherings.

Blank Space
This open-mic platform in Dubai is hosted monthly at the Book Munch Cafe in one of the city’s busiest business districts. It attracts more than 120 people in an intimate creative gathering, where 25 people usually take the stage.

Dubai Poetics
This group focuses on empowering grassroots poetry and visual art through encouraging local artists to submit their works. It publishes curated art pieces online, which attract audiences across the region.

DXB Speakeasy
This was born out of the passion of three spoken-word artists, who teamed up to establish a poetry platform that promotes both writing and performing poems. Workshops are under way for artists who want to learn more about the craft.

Echoes
Based in Abu Dhabi, Echoes hosts open mics at Shabby Chic, a local cafe in the UAE capital. Its goal is to “give voices” to new and budding talents, not only in poetry, but also in music.

 


Chinese pianist Lang Lang set to regale music lovers at Tantora

Updated 18 January 2019
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Chinese pianist Lang Lang set to regale music lovers at Tantora

  • Lang will perform alongside the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra at the Al-Ula-based festival
  • The Winter at Tantora festival has proven wildly successful with audiences so far

RIYADH: Award-winning Chinese pianist Lang Lang delighted fans on Wednesday with a short video teaser to promote his upcoming performance at the Winter at Tantora festival. 

The musician posted the video online, in which he was seen opening a book to reveal the words “stay tuned.” 

Winter at Tantora’s Twitter account added to the hype, tweeting to their followers that the concert would “refresh their senses.”

Lang will perform alongside the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra at the Al-Ula-based festival.

He is famous for his compelling style and talent, as well as his range as a pianist. Claimed that music is his “first language,” he believes that through it he is able to communicate with audiences all over the globe, despite language barriers. 

Throughout his career, he has performed classical pieces, including Chopin and Liszt, but also more contemporary work, including songs from The Little Mermaid.

The sold-out concert, called Monumental, is scheduled for Friday Jan. 18, and will be Lang’s and the Guangzhou Orchestra’s first performances in Saudi Arabia.

Fans took to Twitter to express their excitement. “I can’t wait to see you!” Tweeted one. “It’s a pleasure and an honor to have you in Saudi Arabia!”

The Winter at Tantora festival has proven wildly successful with audiences so far, with names such as Mohammed Abdo, Majida Al-Roumi, and a holographic depiction of legendary songstress Umm Kulthoum all appearing to positive acclaim.

The limited seating per concert, capped at 500 apiece, has been popular, with most concerts selling out in record-breaking time. With different packages available to purchase for the festival, ranging from affordable seats to high-end luxury experiences, the chance to spend a weekend in Al-Ula has also been made available to a wide pool of people, despite the small numbers on offer.