We profile the music acts and performance poets to catch onstage at arty boho festival
Want to hear something different? Stifled by the local music scene? Then there is absolutely no excuse for not heading to Sikka 2014.
This year the UAE-focused arts festival is hosting an impressive 11-day run of staggeringly diverse live music, as well as performance poetry and more, all in the arty outdoor atmosphere of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood.
Expect a mellow and bohemian atmosphere, the area’s restored streets artfully lit and beanbags in front of the stage, as a bewilderingly varied range of performers take to the stage.
Sikka takes place at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbouhood (formally Bastakiya) from Saturday March 15 and Tuesday March 25, with all performances free and open to all.
To find out who is playing when, click here, – and find out more about all the performers below.
As Per Casper Music duo This duo has roots in 2010 when two football teammates realised they also shared a passion for music. What began as informal jams quickly turned into casual performances for friends, and now in 2014 a fully-fledged stage performance under the name As Per Casper.
Samar Jad & Kamiran Kanjo Theatre Contemporary, experimental theatre is a rare treat in the UAE, so it is even more remarkable that this theatrical company combines elements of modern Western performance with those of traditional Arabic linguistics for a culturally diverse performance.
Gayathri Krishnan Singer-Songwriter With songs that range from evocatively low rumbling and moody ambiences to intense anthemic melodies, Gayathri's voice is her identity. A champion of the independent movement and a fixture of the Dubai scene for years, her debut album The Unknown is the result of a highly successful crowdfunding campaign raising more than $23,000 in ten days, which was released independently in March 2013.
Mariam Yakan Singer-Songwriter Mariam Yakan delivers introspective Arabic-infused original songwriting, drawn from experiences in her native Lebanon and her travels around the globe. Her softly delivered vocals and playing style have her tipped among the city’s upcoming female singer-songwriters.
Kamal Musallam Arabic jazz/fusion Fusing the disparate worlds of jazz and traditional Arabic music is not something that should technically be possible, however Jordanian guitarist Kamal Musallam makes it look easy. One of the region's true musical treasures he has travelled countless countries and festivals to bring his new sounds to the world, working with a huge list of players including Billy Cobham. Winner of a Highly Commended Best Dubai Act award from Time Out in 2013, his latest project sees Musallam mixing his West-versus-East approach with flamenco stylings from Italy. Read our interview with Kamal here.
Ziryab Arabic-jazz fusion band The Fusion Beat mix traditional Arabic melodies with western and jazz motives. Led by renowned Qanun player and composer Khalil Ghadri, and with members representing a host of nations from the Middle East and Asia to Europe and Africa, they aim to weave together the disparate sounds of their regional musical disciplines, combining them into a melting pot of world music.
Ahmad Hameed Bayt al Oud – Music School Ahmad Hameed is an Iraqi oud player. He studied music at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baghdad. After that he moved to Egypt to study at the ‘Arabic house of Oud’ under the supervision of the musician Naseer Shamma. After graduating to become a teacher at the institute, in 2008 he moved to teach his craft at the Arabic House of Oud of Abu Dhabi. He has performed across Europe and the Middle East.
David Beats Goliath Indie-folk band With a folk-indie vibe reminiscent of the likes of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Mumford and Sons, this UK/Dubai based band offer quirky, catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Peddling the in vogue revived sounds of vintage Americana, they’re bang on trend for 2014.
Josh Monteith Singer-songwriter A young up and coming troubadour from the wildly rising local singer/songwriter scene, Josh boasts mellow musical musings which have helped his popularity steadily grow with each performance. Aaron Kim Cello-looping Mellow electronic beats, live looped cello arrangements and the occasional infusion of docile dubstep bursts, Aaron Kim’s latest original compositional work hopes to break new ground.
Charlie Al Mameeri Singer-songwriter A young singer/songwriter with a healthy following on YouTube, Charlie sings from the heart about love, friendship and everything else his teenage mind cares to tackle.
Norman Bataille Singer-songwriter In 2013 Norman Bataille was invited by the Dubai Culture Authority to perform in the art festival Sikka. He took us for a ride through Cuban music, country, jazz, light rock and even funk genres fused in a unique way.
Abbo Singer-songwriter Singer-songwriter Abbo has spent the last few years travelling with his guitar and touring his solo projects from New York's Greenwich Village, heading east playing in London, France, Beirut, Qatar, Dubai, Manila, Boracay Island (Philippines) and ending some years later performing in Sydney and Bondi Beach. Bringing an original and honest set, Abbo is likely to tug at your heartstrings.
Arwa Singer-songwriter One of the rare and truly local talents coming out of Dubai, young Arwa is an Emirati singer-songwriter with a sweet, melodic voice and a repertoire of original songs
Reiner Erlings Sound installation Producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, film/TV scorer and orchestral composer, Erlings' dossier is as diverse as his musical ability. Delving in genres innumerable and diverse, his work showcases everything from composition and sound design for award-winning ad campaigns, scores for films, documentaries, features and shorts by acclaimed filmmakers, some of the most creative musicians from the Middle East, composition and arrangements for the UAE Philharmonic Orchestra to a number of internationally acclaimed artists, from Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg, to Lumidee and Sean Kingston.
Paul Bester Opera Paul Bester’s vocal talents range from classical to commercial and he boasts a versatile approach to music which allows him to approach many genres and styles, specialising in classical opera. Used to playing the lead in multiple productions both in his home country of South Africa and internationally, this talented tenor has been the musical leader for multiple groups and productions,=m
The Poeticians Poetry evening The Poeticians is a group of writers, readers, listeners, lovers and word warriors that have come together to share their work, thoughts, ambitions and fears with small intimate audiences in Beirut, Amman and Dubai. The poets are of all nationalities and read in a varied number of languages.
Maher Al Halabi Band Fusion band Arabic vocalist has rounded up a selection of the region’s prolific musicians to create a new project combining Arabic, Latin and Western sounds.
Teaguen Scott Harp looping Teaguen Scott is a young musician who thinks outside the box. Combining a looping station and synthesizers with the gracefulness of his harp playing he turns the conventions of his instrument on its head creating a nu-classical sound that’s novel for this region.