Dubai-based artists Francis and Shaun Warner release new records

British singer-songwriter Alex Wesley, aka Francis. (Supplied)
Updated 24 January 2019

Dubai-based artists Francis and Shaun Warner release new records

  • British singer-songwriter Alex Wesley, aka Francis, has released his debut EP
  • Francis signed to Universal Music MENA

DUBAI: British singer-songwriter Alex Wesley, aka Francis, has released his debut EP “The Long Way Back Around,” having signed to Universal Music MENA.
Wesley began recording the five-track EP almost six years ago. “At the time, I was playing with a different group on what was really a pop record and so the sound of these tracks really came from wanting to let it rip and rock out,” he said in a statement. “A drummer friend and I locked ourselves away in a studio for a week and recorded the basis of the record.” Since then, it’s been a case of finding the time in his busy schedule to actually finish it.

The Dubai-based artist, who plays guitar and keyboards, cites Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead and Coldplay as influences on his work. He claims to have played over 1,000 gigs over the course of his career, performing in the UK, Europe, Africa, America and the Middle East. Francis is a solo project, aided by “an ever-evolving pool of musicians.”
Another Universal MENA artist, UAE-based Irish producer Shaun Warner, has released a new single, “Changeling.” It’s Warner’s first release of 2019, after a hugely successful year that saw his songs breaking into the US Billboard Charts and receiving international airplay.




Shaun Warner. (Supplied)

“Changeling” is an urban-dance crossover track, and a collaboration with up-and-coming UK-based singer-songwriter Reiss Harrison. According to Universal’s press release it “pulls together a range of influences” including “downtempo disco, atmospheric dubstep grooves and modern trap, all beautifully brought together by the classic songwriting.”
It’s the second time Warner has worked with Harrison. Last year, the producer remixed Harrison’s cover of Kings of Leon’s massive hit “Sex on Fire.”
“Changeling,” Warner told Arab News, is “essentially about being yourself and not putting on a fake profile to impress people.”
Warner reached out to Harrison to provide vocals because of how impressed he was with Harrison’s “Sex on Fire” cover.
“I loved his voice, so I reached out to him,” Warner said. “He’s got such a smooth tone.”


Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today’s India

Updated 18 August 2019

Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today’s India

  • The eight episodes explore some of India's most pressing current issues such as a nuclear threat, terrorism and inter-religious animosity
  • Some of the greatest films have had conflict and war as their backdrop

CHENNAI: The first season of “Sacred Games” last year was a hit, and the second edition, which began streaming on Netflix on Aug. 15, may be even more so. 

The eight episodes explore some of India's most pressing current issues such as a nuclear threat, terrorism and inter-religious animosity dating back to the country's 1947 partition. It. It also addresses how religious men can indulge in the most unholy of acts, including helping corrupt politicians. 

Some of the greatest films have had conflict and war as their backdrop: “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca,” “Ben-Hur” and “Garam Hawa,” to mention a few. The second season of “Sacred Games” also unfolds in such a scenario, with terrorism and inter-communal disharmony having a rippling effect on the nation. 

Directed by Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur,” “Black Friday”) and Neeraj Ghaywan (“Masaan,” which premiered at Cannes in 2015), the web series, based on Vikram Chandra's 2006 novel, unfolds with Ganesh Gaitonde (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) escaping from prison and finding himself in Mombasa. He has been carted there by an agent of India's Research and Analysis Wing, Kusum Devi Yadav (Amruta Subhash), who forces him to help find Shahid Khan (Ranvir Shorey), the mastermind behind bomb blasts and terror attacks. 

In Mumbai, police inspector Sartaj (Saif Ali Khan) has just two weeks to save the city from a nuclear attack, which Gaitonde had warned him about. Both men love Mumbai and do not want it to be destroyed. But religious extremist Khanna Guruji (Pankaj Tripathi) and his chief disciple Batya Ableman (Kalki Koechlin) believe that only such a catastrophic destruction can help cleanse society and bring a cleaner, saner new order. 

A narrative of deceit, betrayal, love and longing, the second season has a plodding start, but picks up steam from the fourth episode, with Sartaj and his men racing against time to find a nuclear time bomb that could wipe out Mumbai. Crude dialogue and a constant doomsday atmosphere could have been avoided, but riveting performances by the lead pair – Khan and Siddiqui (though he is getting typecast in this kind of role) – and nail-biting thrills make this Netflix original dramatically captivating.