Singers Nadin Al-Khalidi, Hany Adel discuss their new collaboration

Singers Nadin Al-Khalidi, Hany Adel discuss their new collaboration
The album is multi-themed, with most of the songs inspired by the duo’s conversations about their lives. (Supplied)
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Updated 11 February 2021

Singers Nadin Al-Khalidi, Hany Adel discuss their new collaboration

Singers Nadin Al-Khalidi, Hany Adel discuss their new collaboration
  • The Tarabband and Wust El-Balad veterans join forces on new acoustic album

LONDON: Egyptian singer and actor Hany Adel, best known for his work with the veteran rock band Wust El-Balad, and Iraqi-Egyptian musician Nadin Al-Khalidi — the founder and frontwoman of Sweden-based Tarabband — are currently working on an album that will include songs in Egyptian-Arabic, Iraqi-Arabic, and ‘lahja bayda’ (white dialect — an adaptation of modern standard Arabic).

It’s a collaboration that has been cooking for a few years now, ever since a brief meeting in Cairo in 2016 when Al-Khalidi was performing with Tarabband.

“I remember Hany commenting that it sounded and felt great to see a female fronting this band,” Al-Khalidi tells Arab News. “I didn’t know much about what was going on the Arab world at the time, musically. I was very busy in Europe. We had just starting touring in the Arab region when we came to Cairo.”




Nadin Al-Khalidi is the founder and frontwoman of Sweden-based Tarabband. (Getty)

Al-Khalidi and Adel briefly discussed forming an acoustic duo and Al-Khalidi says she could “hear our voices coming together in my head.”

But their packed schedules—as well as geography, with Al-Khalidi in Malmö and Adel in Cairo — stood in the way. The right moment finally arrived in October, when Al-Khalidi traveled to Cairo as part of a longer trip that included time in Jordan, working on a project with the Swedish Embassy in Amman, as well as recording a song with prominent Iraqi musician Ilham Al-Madfai.

“We had almost daily sessions in Hany’s studio just to brainstorm tunes, melodies, lyrics. We spent time listening to each other, sharing our musical preferences, and discussing life and everything in between,” Al-Khalidi says.

She recalls pulling a melody from a voice memo on her phone shortly after her arrival in Cairo. Adel gave it a listen and they immediately launched into composing the song. “He managed to find exactly the right chords for the song, and it was instantly ready,” Al-Khalidi says.




Hany Adel is best known for his work with the veteran rock band Wust El-Balad. (Redbull Pool Content)

“Hany has a beautiful way of being — not just working but really being — with the music,” she continues. “He is free and unjudgmental. Very open to new ideas too. There was no intimidation between us as musicians. The space we moved in was very safe. It very much felt like meeting my male version, musically.”

Adel felt equally at home working with Al-Khalidi. “As we sat together in my studio, I wasn’t shy about making musical mistakes in the presence of Nadine. She wasn’t either. Sometimes there is an air of intimidation when you’re in the same room with another musician, especially if you don’t know each other or haven’t performed together before. And this can be very irritating for musicians until they get used to each other and are no longer shy to learn from, and teach, one another,” he says.

By the end of their first studio session, the duo had written the music for four songs. By the end of their third day working together, eight were ready. With the exception of one folklore song, and another written solely by Adel, all the tracks were co-written by Al-Khalidi and Adel.




The collaboration has been cooking for a few years now, ever since a brief meeting in Cairo in 2016 when Al-Khalidi was performing with Tarabband. (Supplied)

The album is multi-themed, with most of the songs inspired by the duo’s conversations about their lives.

One of the first singles from the album, “Min Ba’id l Ba’id (an Arabic term roughly translating to ‘keeping your distance’), is about a former couple getting their long overdue closure.

The duo had a specific idea for the song in the beginning but “our discussions led us to a different conception of the song — from wanting it to be about two people in a long-distance relationship to basing it on two people choosing to stay apart despite still loving one another,” Adel explains.

“The song taps into the awkwardness that comes with this closure. The couple is trying so hard to detach, but questions remain hanging in the air,” Al-Khalidi adds.

That the initial concept changed into something else testifies “to the magic that happens when two musicians come together to produce art. It comes out completely different than what was originally planned if you truly believe in it,” Adel says.

With Al-Khalidi currently back in Malmö, the duo will complete the album remotely. Al-Khalidi records in her quiet countryside home, sends her parts over to Adel and they discuss the recordings together. A release date has not been decided yet, but the pair suggest that there could be two or three singles released before the album. There will also be a documentary about their collaboration, made by Salma Sherif of DUSK sounds.

A coming together of two raw voices and equally authentic music experiences, the collaboration between Al-Khalidi and Adel exemplifies what Adel describes as “perfect harmony.”


Dubai cat cafe hopes rescues will find purr-fect new homes

Dubai cat cafe hopes rescues will find purr-fect new homes
Updated 28 February 2021

Dubai cat cafe hopes rescues will find purr-fect new homes

Dubai cat cafe hopes rescues will find purr-fect new homes
  • The cafe’s original residents were strays taken in by the family over the years
  • Now Ailuromania hosts cats from a government-run animal shelter in the neighboring emirate of Ras al Khaimah, hoping to increase adoptions

DUBAI: A haven for humans craving furry feline company, a cat cafe in Dubai also doubles as an adoption center for some of the United Arab Emirates’ many strays.
The Ailuromania Cat Cafe, which was the Middle East’s first cat cafe when it opened in 2015, hopes the relaxing properties of its 25 rescue and shelter cats will help find them their forever homes.
“Anyone who is stressed just has to find a cat. All your stress will go away,” said Omnia Fareed, whose two cat-loving sisters Allaa and Iman started the cafe after university, taking inspiration from similar establishments in Korea and London.
The cafe’s original residents were strays taken in by the family over the years. Now Ailuromania hosts cats from a government-run animal shelter in the neighboring emirate of Ras al Khaimah, hoping to increase adoptions.
The cafe’s name Ailuromania is a play on the Greek-derived English word for a lover of cats: ailurophile.
The cafe has regular customers who come seeking relaxation from the stresses of life, or because they cannot keep a cat at home.
“They are so cute, they love playing,” said visitor Shaasthra. She said she appreciates how the cafe looks after the cats’ welfare by advising people not to hold them or wake them up.
Another regular visitor, a street cat who would stare in through the window, was also invited and eventually adopted.
Since Dubai began lifting coronavirus lockdown measures last summer, the cafe re-opened with capacity and sanitization restrictions.
Dubai has a large number of stray cats, with many abandoned on the streets by their owners. In 2018 UAE authorities made it illegal to abandon animals, but animal welfare activists in Dubai have for years called for a large-scale trap-neuter-release scheme and feeding programs to bring numbers down humanely.
In August, Dubai municipality issued a circular restating a policy of fining anyone caught feeding strays, saying it increases the spread of diseases.


Sneaker giant New Balance releases latest line with French-Moroccan label

New Balance x Casablanca Drop III. Supplied
New Balance x Casablanca Drop III. Supplied
Updated 28 February 2021

Sneaker giant New Balance releases latest line with French-Moroccan label

New Balance x Casablanca Drop III. Supplied

DUBAI: The latest collaboration between Casablanca x New Balance dropped yesterday on casablancaparis.com and, naturally, it sold-out within minutes – Footwear designer Amina Muaddi took to Instagram to show off her pair – But, if you didn’t manage to click “add to cart,” then we have some good news for you: You can still get your hands on a pair of the highly covetable footwear when they drop in the region next week.

Drop III comes in two silhouettes. The 327 boasts an octopus-like outsole that extends up the shoe and an interlocking Moroccan tile print that stays true to the French-Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer’s North African roots.

New Balance x Casablanca 327 silhouette. Supplied

Meanwhile, featuring a wedge heel, suede, mesh and nylon upper, as well as Casablanca’s signature monogram design, the 237 is an entirely new silhouette. Unlike the 327 style, the lugs on the outsole are less bold and don’t extend up the back of the shoe. 

Both trainers feature a clean white, pink and green colorway and an oversized “N” logo on the upper.

It’s not the first time the Paris-based apres-sports fashion house and the footwear company have joined forces. In fact, this recent drop marks their third footwear collaboration together.

New Balance x Casablanca 237 silhouette. Supplied

Casablanca’s first collaboration with New Balance debuted last year, when the 327 dropped in zesty orange and green colorways, inspired by Moroccan sweet oranges and tennis uniforms, respectively. 

The Casablanca x New Balance 327 and 273 sneakers will be available to purchase on March 5 at 9am (KSA time) on newbalance.co.ae and will be retailing for $163 for the 327 and $150 for the 237. Given how quickly the shoes sold out online on Feb. 27, we suggest setting an alarm.


Oscar-nominated ‘White Eye’ asks the hard questions

“White Eye” has made it to the 10-movie shortlist for the Best Live Action Short Film at the 93rd Academy Awards. Supplied
“White Eye” has made it to the 10-movie shortlist for the Best Live Action Short Film at the 93rd Academy Awards. Supplied
Updated 28 February 2021

Oscar-nominated ‘White Eye’ asks the hard questions

“White Eye” has made it to the 10-movie shortlist for the Best Live Action Short Film at the 93rd Academy Awards. Supplied

LONDON: “White Eye” — a short film from writer-director Tomer Shushan — serves as a masterclass in concise storytelling. After all, the pivotal moment at the heart of Shushan’s semi-autobiographical (and recently Oscar-nominated) short involves little more than a dispute over a stolen bicycle, with no lavish set pieces or special effects required to create an enthralling atmosphere. Furthermore, “White Eye” is shot in a single, continuous take that follows Omer (Daniel Gad) as he tries to retrieve his stolen bike.

The short film from writer-director Tomer Shushan serves as a masterclass in concise storytelling. Supplied

The camera buzzes around Omer, sometimes looking over his shoulder, then backing up to show events unfolding in front of him, or circling to show the audience what he can’t see. It makes for an intense 20 minutes of cinema, and it’s no surprise that “White Eye” has made it to the 10-movie shortlist for the Best Live Action Short Film at the 93rd Academy Awards.

“White Eye” is shot in a single, continuous take that follows Omer (Daniel Gad) as he tries to retrieve his stolen bike. Supplied

Shushan keeps the scale of the film small. “White Eye” takes place in a single building and on the street outside. As Omer’s attempts to get his bike back escalate into a far more high-stakes situation, there’s a palpable sense of rising tension and, without giving away too much of the story (which would undo the strength of the narrative), Shushan begins to ask a number of uncomfortable questions — about assumption, about prejudice, about empathy and retribution.

“White Eye” takes place in a single building and on the street outside. Supplied

The 20-minute runtime flashes past in a heartbeat as the tiny world the film inhabits becomes both more familiar through repetition, and more uncomfortable as the severity of the situation dawns on Omer — and, by extension, the audience. Thanks to an understated performance from Gad, we see Omer begin to ask himself the hard questions about the strength of his own character. And by that point, we’re so taken in by Shushan’s carefully crafted microcosm that we can’t help but ask ourselves the same of our own humanity.


Bella Hadid shares insight on her autoimmune disorders

Hadid was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012. Instagram
Hadid was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012. Instagram
Updated 28 February 2021

Bella Hadid shares insight on her autoimmune disorders

Hadid was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012. Instagram

DUBAI: US-Palestinian-Dutch model Bella Hadid offered fans a glimpse into how she treats her autoimmune disorders in an Instagram post this weekend.

On Friday, the 24-year-old posted a series of photos showing her hooked up to an intravenous drip. “Living with a few chronic autoimmune disease = always finding time for my IVs,” she captioned the post.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

Hadid was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012 alongside with younger brother Anwar, 21, and their mother, Yolanda, 57.

In 2016, Bella opened up to People magazine about dealing with Lyme disease while being in the spotlight.

“Life isn’t always what it looks like on the outside, and the hardest part of this journey is to be judged by the way you look instead of the way you feel,” she said at the time.


Part-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi is the star of the Dundas Fall 2021 collection

The model posed for Norwegian designer Peter Dundas’s latest collection. Supplied
The model posed for Norwegian designer Peter Dundas’s latest collection. Supplied
Updated 28 February 2021

Part-Moroccan model Malika El-Maslouhi is the star of the Dundas Fall 2021 collection

The model posed for Norwegian designer Peter Dundas’s latest collection. Supplied

DUBAI: Norwegian designer Peter Dundas presented the Dundas Fall 2021 collection this week with a little help from Malika El-Maslouhi. The fashion heavyweight tapped the Moroccan-Italian rising model to showcase the glamorous new offering, which was digitally presented in a look book format.

The 22-year-old, who was born in Milan to an Italian mother and a Moroccan father, features in the look book, shot by fashion photographer Charlotte Wales in London, wearing 31 looks that range from draped minidresses and velvet pantsuits to slender duster coats and the brand’s newest category — hosiery.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by MALIKA (@malika.elmaslouhi)

“If we’re ever allowed to go out at night again, I promise I’m stepping out in @dundasworld,” wrote El-Maslouhi on Instagram alongside a carousel of videos and photos that included backstage clips from the shoot. “What a fun day it was and loved to rock these looks. Thank you for having me,” she added.

Indeed, the collection is perfect for post-lockdown revelry.

Inspired by the glamour of the 1930s and the 1970s, the collection was punctuated with flowy wide-leg trousers, tailored jackets worn over lavish dresses, fringed tops and skirts, feathered cardigan dresses and lots of animal print.

The model posed for Norwegian designer Peter Dundas’s latest collection. Supplied

The London-based designer chose rich and luxurious fabrics such as velvet and charmeuse and details like ostrich fur and sequins to dream up the latest offering.

El-Maslouhi, who is signed to VIVA Model Management, made her modelling debut when she was 18 years old at the Alberta Ferretti Fall 2019 show and went on to walk for the Dior Cruise 2020 show held in Marrakech a month later.

She would go on to quit her university studies to pursue modeling full-time, and completely captivate the fashion industry in the process.

The model posed for Norwegian designer Peter Dundas’s latest collection. Supplied

In addition to gracing the runways of storied fashion houses such as Hermes and Chanel, the rising fashion star has also appeared in international campaigns for the likes of Jacquemus and Zadig & Voltaire, and was selected as the face of Calvin Klein swimwear.

Meanwhile, the model, who splits her time between Italy, France and the Netherlands, was also recently selected as the cover star of the latest edition of Elle France.