Poets & musicians, Middle East's longest running open mic night kicks off new season, virtually

purva@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 24, 2020
Dorian Paul Rogers, poet and founder of Rooftop Rhythms

Launching this Friday, September 25, Rooftop Rhythms ninth season goes virtual

The Middle East's longest-running open mic night, Rooftop Rhythms, kicks off its ninth season this Friday, September 25 at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). Co-presented with the official support of US Embassy Abu Dhabi, the virtual rendition of the monthly open mic series will take via The Arts Center at NYUAD's Facebook page.

Having moved to a virtual format in March in response to Covid-19, Rooftop Rhythms saw incredible engagement from audiences worldwide, reaching over 140,000 views over the three online performances.

The Arts Center recently launched its sixth season under the theme A Bridge and following the success of recent virtual performances, Rooftop Rhythms' ninth season will embrace the dynamics of the online space by bridging global artists and audiences through online platforms.

"Bringing Rooftop Rhythms online adds to the narrative that Abu Dhabi will continue to thrive culturally and artistically even in the midst of the global pandemic. Residents here feel safe as Abu Dhabi is taking the lead internationally in prioritizing its residents' health and safety. NYU Abu Dhabi and The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi took the proactive approach to cancel on-campus events and close to visitors [for the fall]," said poet and founder of Rooftop Rhythms Dorian Paul Rogers.

"Through these entities' integral involvement and input, we all mutually agreed to stay responsible by postponing all in-person events. We made this decision in early March 2020 and found extreme success as a virtual event," he added.

Oman-based teacher, poet, actor, and comedian Hakeem Kemet, a former UAE resident who remains a regular performer said: "I love the reach Rooftop Rhythms gets as a virtual show! With the online events, Rooftop is able to unite artists and audience members across the world instantly. Performers and audience members new and old are able to plug into the community, even though they may not be in the UAE at the time. And the comments and Facebook likes and reactions help to replace some of that lost sense of atmosphere as with the in-person events. It's really helped me stay connected to this group and vibe that I love, giving me something to look forward to amidst all of this current COVID-19 madness."

From its establishment in 2012, Rooftop Rhythms has sought to create a community where artists can freely express themselves while allowing for intellectual exchange and shared experiences.

NYU Abu Dhabi student, singer, musician, and songwriter Suzan Sadek, scheduled to perform on September 25, said: "I was scared this was lost in the virtual world. After the first event, however, I realised that although I couldn't see the instant support, it was all there through the interactions, the likes, the comments, and the direct messages.

"The virtual show resulted in a wider audience and provided accessibility to a larger range of viewers. My family and friends from all over the world could finally watch my performances, if not live then a rewatch, and still be able to interact and support me."

Dubai-based poet, writer, photographer, make-up artist Danabelle Gutierrez added: "The impact of Rooftop Rhythms is unparalleled as it has brought together so many different artists or different styles together to form the spoken word arts scene. The once-a-month poetry events in various parts of the city do keep me grounded and rooted as being part of the community whether I am performing or just attending. Moving virtual has helped push that sense of community despite the current circumstances."

author

Purva Grover

Purva Grover is a journalist, poetess, playwright, and stage director. She made her debut as an author, with The Trees Told Me So, a collection of short stories. She is the editor of Young Times, a magazine that empowers the youth in the UAE. She conducts fortnightly writing workshops, author interaction events, open mic sessions, etc. for the writing fraternity in UAE. Her stage productions have been recognised for their boldness, honesty, and unique voice. She is backed with a post-graduate degree in mass communication and literature. Born & brought up in colourful-chaotic India, she writes in English and currently resides in Dubai, UAE. You can stalk her on Instagram @purvagr and say hello to her at purvagrover.com


 
 
khaleejtimes
khaleejtimes

Video | World

News in a Minute: Top headlines of the day...
khaleejtimes
khaleejtimes

Video | World

What's brewing in news? Join our Morning Chat
khaleejtimes
khaleejtimes

Video | World

Many dead as record rains lash India's...
khaleejtimes
khaleejtimes

Video | Nation

Nakheel Mall unveils the water swing at The...
khaleejtimes
khaleejtimes

Video | Nation

What's brewing in news? Join our Morning Chat
khaleejtimes
khaleejtimes

Video | World

News in a Minute: Top headlines of the day...
khaleejtimes
khaleejtimes

Video | Nation

KT Storybook: Inside Dubai's Moon Museum
khaleejtimes
khaleejtimes

Video | Nation

What's brewing in news? Join our Morning Chat
khaleejtimes
khaleejtimes

Video | Nation

What's brewing in news? Join our Morning Chat
khaleejtimes
khaleejtimes

Video | World

News in a Minute: Top headlines of the day...