Brand New Heavies, Roger Sanchez and Sander Kleinberg at Nasimi
It’s been almost six months since Nasimi’s first Sandance beach festival, which drew almost 8,000 people to one of Atlantis’s bigger beaches, but the wait for a follow-up is over. Next week, the 12-hour beach party returns with international acts and DJ sets, supported by local talent.
Again split into three sessions, the event will kick off with sunshine sounds from acid jazz and funk group The Brand New Heavies and sets from local DJs Matthew Charles, Da Sendri and David Craig. Once the sun goes down, Roger Sanchez and Sneaky Sound System will be trotting on stage to get the crowd on their feet, with sets from local talent Smokingroove, Charl Chaka and Mark Pickup. For the night-time set, 2ManyDJs, Sander Kleinenberg, Fragma and Ronin & Nesta will be taking turns to fill the night with rocking sounds. But before dusting off our best beachwear, we caught up with a few of the acts to find out what to expect from Sandance 2.0.
The Brand New Heavies
It was 1994 album Brother Sister and single ‘Dream on Dreamer’ that marked the rise of this British band, but today they’re just as well known for 2006 track ‘Jump ‘N’ Move’ which featured on the Happy Feet soundtrack. ‘That generated a lot of interest in us on iTunes – it’s now one of our most downloaded songs,’ says Andrew Levy, the group’s 50-year-old bassist and keyboardist. But the band, with current line-up of drummer and keyboardist Jan Kincaid, guitarist Simon Bartholomew, vocalist N’Dea Davenport and Levy, aren’t resting on their laurels. This year they’ll put out two new albums, including Heavy Rhyme Experience Volume 2 – 19 years after Volume 1 – on which they’ll be working with emerging UK rappers, plus one more familiar face. ‘We haven’t got him in the studio yet, but Dizzee Rascal contacted us and is interested. We won’t do the track with him until the last minute, though,’ Levy explains. While there’s little chance of Dizzee joining them on stage, fans of the band can expect plenty of old favourites. ‘We’ll be playing the major songs from Brother Sister and the album before that, plus a few new things,’ says Levy, assuring us that the band haven’t lost any of the early magic. ‘We can still jump around a stage and whip up the crowd like we used to – we’re full-on funk stars through and through.’
The presence of this Sydney-based dance duo on the line-up is already causing a stir among Australian expats. A regular feature on the international festival circuit, producer and guitarist Black Angus (real name Angus McDonald) and vocalist Connie Mitchell are still going strong despite the departure of a third member, MC Double D, back in 2009 – they have a new album, From Here to Anywhere, on the way. ‘We’ll be road-testing a bunch of new material on this little run,’ says McDonald of their upcoming Sandance gig. ‘We’ve worked a lot harder on the songs and spent a lot more time making it really simple, making the vocals really count. It’s upbeat but pretty banging at times.’ As for their show, McDonald warns it’s ‘not for wallflowers’, but adds that it’s perfect for anyone in a bad mood who needs picking up. Though with this line-up, they’ll be hard-pushed to find a miserable face in the crowd.
It’s not long since Dutch DJ and producer Kleinenberg last visited Dubai – in fact, a mere three months – but you can never have too much of a good thing. The 40-year-old seems to agree. ‘I usually arrive in Dubai a day early to enjoy a little bit of the local paradise. I love it. The hotels are phenomenal,’ he explains, expressing a particular liking for Mexican eatery Maya at Le Royal Méridien. But it’s not all play. ‘I’ve just finished something for Daft Punk, which was a dream come true – they’re amazing, inspiring legends,’ he explains. ‘It’s exciting to be in [the dance genre] at the moment – there’s a great hybrid of different scenes getting together and trying to find a new form of music.’ For now, he’s looking forward to the Sandance crowd’s reaction to his ‘DVJing’. ‘I DJ with video, which doesn’t always come across well in a club, so a stage like this is the perfect way to capture what I’ve been working on over the past year,’ he says, inviting the crowd to Tweet him their feedback. Sandance takes place on Friday March 11 from 2pm. Tickets are Dhs150 in advance, Dhs200 on the door. www.timeouttickets.com