Dubai-based artists Francis and Shaun Warner release new records

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


Hoda Barakat wins Arab Booker for ‘The Night Mail’

Updated 24 April 2019
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Hoda Barakat wins Arab Booker for ‘The Night Mail’

  • The author will receive a prize of $50,000 for her winning novel “The Night Mail”
  • The book includes a series of letters from individuals who are facing social and personal issues

ABU DHABI: Lebanese author Hoda Barakat has won the Booker international prize for Arabic fiction for her novel “The Night Mail.”
She will receive $50,000 and the five other authors who reached the final short-list will each receive $10,000, the organizers revealed late Tuesday.
Conceived in Abu Dhabi in 2007, the prize is supported by the Booker Prize Foundation in London and financed by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism.
Born in Beirut, Hoda Barakat lives in Paris and has published several novels including “The Stone of Laughter” and “My Master and My Lover.”
“The Night Mail” is her sixth novel and has been translated into French.
Alongside the prize money, funds will also be provided for translating the book into English.
The novel consists of a series of letters by individuals “facing social misery and their own demons,” according to publisher Actes Sud.
Abu Dhabi, capital of the emirate of the same name, has become an increasingly significant cultural hub.
The city hosts the Louvre Abu Dhabi — the first museum to take the name “Louvre” outside France — which houses nearly 600 works in a futuristic building designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.