Moonshine in Dubai

Singer Ryan Noronha introduces his Dubai-based band

Music feature

Moonshine got together in 1996, originally just for fun. We were a covers band playing tunes by Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, America, and so on, but people really liked us so we started doing paid gigs. The band drifted apart for a while before reforming into the current incarnation two years ago. In between I continued solo under the name ‘Moonshine’, which is why some people know me as Ryan Moonshine.

The Police, Bob Marley, Nirvana and Bob Dylan, among others, have inspired our music. Our solos are clean and precise because Kurt, our guitarist, listens to people such as Eric Johnson and Joe Satriani, while our drummer, Hisham, is a big fan of [highly paid, famous session drummer] Steve Gadd. We’d classify our music as soft rock, with a few grunge riffs thrown in. Maybe straight-up ‘rock’ covers it.

The advantage of being in Dubai is that if you’re good, you only need to play a couple of gigs before you become well-known. On the whole it’s an okay place to develop your music. Just don’t ask about getting the performance permissions – that’s a whole other topic to scream about.

Our debut EP, released last month, took about a year to complete. It’s never easy to record, especially when it’s a DIY effort.

The name Moonshine is a metaphor. ‘Moonshine’ is a term for alcohol brewed by people in the US countryside to sell to locals if they can’t get their hands on the real thing. We used the same reference for our music: you couldn’t get the real artist to come out and play in Dubai, but you could hear their tunes played by Moonshine. Bands come here more frequently these days, but we’ve also grown away from just playing covers.

In Dubai your plans are as good as the length of your visa. I renewed mine a year ago and Kurt is working on getting his as we speak. In the short-team we want to sell 1,000 copies of the EP and get our music out to everyone by playing as many gigs as possible. We can’t leave our day jobs, that’s for sure.

If I became famous, I’d hire a pair of bodyguards and move from Sharjah to Dubai. No, just kidding – I’d move into music full time, start managing other artists and spend more time with my family, I guess. No more driving in and out of Sharjah all the time!
Moonshine’s self-titled EP is available to buy from for Dhs15, or to download from

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