MANAMA: Fearing the deterioration of Bahrain’s music scene, the guys who launched Museland back in 2006 are staging a three-day conference, which will include live performances, to begin the fight back.
Running from December 5 to 7 at Bait Al Salmaniya and the Alliance Francaise, Sound & Fiction aims to shed light on the local and regional music scene through a program of talks, panels, workshops and film screenings to community activities and live sets. And, best of all, it’s free and open to all.
Conference director and founder, Ali Al-Saeed, told Arab News: “Sound & Fiction is a response to the current trends in the local music scene. I felt there was a desperate need for an alternative forum, one that will delve into the often-neglected aspects of music. My philosophy has always been to deinstitutionalize the arts, and music is no different.
The event will bring together artists, experts, producers and musicians from Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the USA, including US artist Christopher the Conquered, Paxico Records founder Chris Hudd, Kuwaiti psychedelic rock outfit Galaxy Juice, the Bahraini Khaleeji electronica duo Arabstract, experimental sound artist Hasan Hujairi, and more.
Sound & Fiction will address topics including the state of the music scene in the region, the importance of community building, developing an original voice as an artist, and the rise of Arab hip-hop.
“We might have a scene, but we don't have a movement,” Al-Saeed said. “A few years ago, we didn't even have a scene. Museland (record label and all-round music collective founded by Al-Saeed) helped create one, when it began over 12 years ago. But there's been a big shift, as more corporate and commercial influences took hold. We just need to refocus, collectively, and make things about the music again.
“Evolving the music scene only happens when there is a thriving music community that is independent, and critical,” he continued. “It's time for musicians to ask big questions. This conference aims to simply create an alternate narrative, and offer a different perspective.”