Back in France, Fête de la Musique is a huge national holiday. Launched by the French Ministry of Culture in 1982, every year on June 21 the country comes together to celebrate live performance – busking is actively encouraged, and the streets literally come alive with music.
Now more than a century old, the tradition has spread to at least a hundred countries across the globe. And here in Dubai the Alliance Française has done a good job of keeping the pastime alive, in recent years lining Madinat Jumeirah’s quaint Arabic walkways with quirky street musicians and creating a riotous festival atmosphere.
The 2014 festival will be the last time the June 21 date is celebrated in the region for at least three years – so it’s well worth checking out.
Here are some of the UAE acts you can look forward to seeing throughout the evening, each cropping up for 30 minutes sets at makeshift stages across the Madinat, between 7pm and 10pm on Saturday June 21.
Parallel Sound System
A three-piece ‘electro dream pop’ band composed of vocalist 'X' (Christianne Alvarez),synths and effects Mckie Alvarez, beatmaker, synths and samplers Muhaisnahfour (Cromwell Ojeda). Expect a mix of ambient electronic music at Fete de la Musique this year.
Point of View
Winner of Best Band at Time Out’s 2013 Music & Nightlife Awards, Point of View are an accomplished hard rock band with intriguing songwriting, technical virtuosity and a socially conscious soul. At Fete de la Musique, Point of View will put up a more laid back acoustic set.
The Gypsy Swing Project
Fresh from releasing their first album, this kooky jazz manouche quartet play live. Expect to hear classic French tunes artfully rearranged into the swing jazz-style a la Django Reinhardt.
Acoustic guitar/beatbox duo Mural play electronic house and drum ‘n’ bass styles stripped down or interpreted to a mix of acoustic guitar and beatboxing. A novel sound worth checking out.
Endlessly curious Jordanian oud and guitarist Kamal Musallam will perform tracks from his newly released sixth album Homemade in Rome. Expect a mix of East and West, blending jazz, Arabic, fusion and more.
Raisa & Luke
French-Brazilian singer Raisa and Austrian guitarist Luke Aaron Meyer will play easy chill out music, including Brazilian bossa nova, jazz and some French songs.
A student drumming group who play traditional marching drums with a modern twist. Expect to this troupe unchained, marching throughout the Madinat’s walkways and spreading the beats and rhythms to the masses.
The Hamami Brothers
Veterans of the local scene for six years, brothers Mohamad and Ayham Hamami (violin and vocals) will present their repertoire of Arabic music, from traditional and classical to modern pieces, along with some original music. They will be joined on stage by young talented Teaguen Scott on harp and percussion.
Gayamb started ten years ago on the French Reunion Island (between Madagascar and Mauritius) and then continued with the core members in Africa. These same core members now have re-started this band in the UAE with an additional musician from the Reunion Island, bringing a rarely heard traditional Creole music to the party, more precisely known as ‘Séga’.
Muhaisnah Four is a self-confessed, Dubai0based gear junky. Expect live electronic music, pitting samples and beats with analogue synthesiser.
Al Quoz Mic Trip
A Dubai-based band of five accomplished musicians from the USA, France and Lebanon who perform a mix of bluesy English rock sprinkled with some French pop favourites. The quartet are Fete de la Musique regulars who have played at every event since 2007.
Find out more: Alliance Francaise Dubai, www.afdubai.org/alliance-francaise-dubai/, 04 335 87 12 - www.facebook.com/AllianceFrancaiseDubai