Live music in Dubai

Want to ensure a future in Dubai for musicians and enjoy great tunes? Then heed these words


It’s time for action, ladies and gentlemen. If you’ve enjoyed the burgeoning music scene in Dubai over the past few years then you owe it to yourselves to get down to Malecon this Friday. You see, Dubai Lime – a tireless supporter of local musical talent – needs help, and only you (and 599 people like you) can save the day. With the credit crunch bearing down on everyone, it seems that the organisation’s twice-weekly Open Mic events may be under threat. So now Dubai Lime has rallied its friends and fans to put on Lime Juice, a great big lovely fundraiser.

Holly Major, local musician and Open Mic organiser, explains: ‘Dubai Lime’s Open Mic events have always been free for the musicians, venues and the audience. The funding to keep them running came from generous sponsors and donors, but many have pulled out at the moment due to the current global financial situation. This is why we’re running Lime Juice, as a way to maintain the Open Mics. I really do hope that the community will come forward and support us in this – after all, Dubai Lime is about bringing us together.’

Dubai Lime isn’t just about Open Mic – they also run a website that provides a great way for local musicians and their fans to interact and promote themselves. And their support has helped many local artists get support slots for international stars like Pink in 2007 and José González in 2008, not to mention record deals – Paul Nolan – and live radio performances.

They were even instrumental in the success of Abri, one of Dubai’s biggest acts. Keyboardist Julian says,‘When we wanted to go to the UK to play and record, Dubai Lime helped us get sponsorship so we could get out there. They’ve definitely had a direct impact on our career.’ In fact, without the Dubai Lime, the band’s success – their sophomore album, Blank Notes, will be released next month – would have been much harder to achieve. ‘Initially, we had a big job promoting our own music because the hotels just generally want covers, but Dubai Lime has always promoted and supported that.

‘The best thing about Dubai Lime is that its aim isn’t to make money, it’s to promote the arts. It’s great to have something in Dubai where the bottom line isn’t profit, it’s about supporting people professionally. And they do it on a scale that would be difficult for anyone to replicate without sponsor-ship or financial support.’

Which brings us back to Lime Juice – and if you’re wondering what you’ll get out of the event aside from the continued existence of one of Dubai’s most important musical institutions then wonder no more. Headliners will, of course, be Abri, who’ll play their trademark soul/funk/R&B sound. They’ll be joined by folk rocker Danny Shirran, DJ Chris Fisher, Ish Ismail, Happiness Electronics, Dahab and the acoustic duo of Dubai Lime’s Holly Major and Brazilian guitar player extraordinaire The Cassiano.

It’s a hell of a bill, that’s for sure, and we’re not the only ones who are excited. ‘It’s going to be great, because the crowd will really be there for the music,’ concludes Julian. ‘It’ll be an arty, musically literate crowd and hopefully they’ll be really inter-active and energetic. That’s what we are aiming for.’

Lime Juice is at Malecon, March 13

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