WOMAD Mania Grips the Capital

ABU DHABI - Excited spectators gathered as early as 5pm on Thursday at Abu Dhabi Corniche to witness the first ever WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance) festival.

By Olivia Olarte

Published: Sat 25 Apr 2009, 1:35 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:17 AM

Fans of WOMAD from as far as Hong Kong came to see the performances. Dan Carew and wife Tiffany came to Abu Dhabi particularly to see Youssou N’Dour and the Qawwali group. “We are an avid fan of WOMAD since it was founded in 1982 by Peter Gabriel,” Dan said.

Australian Marc Fairhead and Karline Freiderfelds who live in Abu Dhabi plan to attend all three nights of the festival and look forward to seeing the Dhol Foundation perform tonight and Paprika Balkanicus on Saturday.

Dutch national Jos Snoodijk from Dubai intends to come again tonight to see Youssou N’Dour. She was particularly impressed with the choice of venue as well as the music stall that sell the CDs of the artistes.

“WOMAD’s brochure programme was available all throughout Dubai, it was great,” she said.

“This celebration of culture is great. It is wonderful to see what’s going on in other parts of the world,” said Professor Ian Haslan, a Canadian who lives in Abu Dhabi.

Ayman Wahdan from Egypt looks forward to seeing Egyptian singer Mohamed Mounir on Saturday, and Souad Massi and Khaled, both from Algeria.

From 6pm on Thursday, Malarky and Ranvir Kaur held a workshop for children where they engaged them in the creation of various craftworks.

Zimbabwean group ‘Siyaya’, a Shona name which means ‘We are on the move’, started off the evening show with a performance accompanied by children from the British School Al Khubairat who have spent the past week rehearsing for the show.

Other performers for the first night included the South Korean troupe, Dulsori; Oud player and composer Kamal Mussalam from Jordan with Emirati band Sokoor Al Magabeel; Algerian singer Souad Massi; Armenian musical legend Jivan Gasparyan; rising Brazilian star Márcio Local; qawwali singers and brothers from Pakistan Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali, and Algerian musician Khaled who is also known as “the King of Raï”. The three-day festival will feature over 20 award-winning artistes from around the world at two separate venues — Abu Dhabi Corniche and Al Jahili Fort, Al Ain (only on Friday).

Tonight’s performers in Abu Dhabi will include the Dhol Foundation’s act from India and the UK, Abdullah Chhadeh and Syriana from Syria and the UK, The Kamkars from Kurdistan and Iran, Etran Finatawa from Niger of West Africa, Sa Dingding from China and Youssou N’Dour and The Super Etoile De Dakar from Senegal.

Performers at Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain tonight will include Tunisian singer and composer Dhafer Youssef , Dulsori, Siyayan and Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali.

The WOMAD Abu Dhabi Festival is free for the public. Timings are from 6pm to 12 midnight.

Shuttle buses are provided at three separate locations in Abu Dhabi city — Marina Mall, Intercontinental Hotel and Mina Zayed — to transport people to the venue and back.

Five buses per location will operate every 15 minutes from each of the meeting points to the venue from 5pm till 1am.


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