Sharjah music fest gets off to a flying start

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Sharjah music fest gets off to a flying start
Saber Al Rebai performing at the Sharjah World Music Festival on its opening night at Al Majaz Amphitheatre.

Sharjah - Tunisian singer Al Rebai enthrals audience at Sharjah World Music Festival.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Fri 8 Jan 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 9 Jan 2016, 2:15 PM

Legendary Tunisian singer Saber Al Rebai on Thursday took the Sharjah World Music Festival by storm on its opening night at Al Majaz Amphitheatre. This was the star's first appearance in Sharjah and he was welcomed by a huge crowd of lovers of traditional Arabic music from all over the region, who sang along with him and cheered him as he belted out some popular numbers.
Welcomed on stage with a huge round of applause, the singer said: "I am delighted to be with you here in Sharjah, hoping it will always remain bright with its people and all those who sincerely love their country like the UAE. I am extremely happy to visit the emirate for the first time. What is most important for me is that art will remain a strong weapon to use against the difficult circumstances being faced by some parts of the Arab world."
Fans shouted out titles and sang verses of songs they wished to hear, and Al Rebai did not disappoint them, belting out hits such as Bebasata, Ya Asal, Ya Lalla, Dalloula, Mezyana, Ajmal Nisaa El Dounia, Ala Nar, Ezz Alhabayeb and Qadoqa Almayas. Al Rebai then pranced around the stage singing Atahada El Alam, followed by a long Mawwal, a traditional genre of music. He concluded the evening with his hit songs Sidi Mansour, and Barsha, getting the crowd in almost a frenzy, with many leaping from their seats and dancing.
The opening night was attended by a number of artists and media figures from the UAE and beyond, and a huge audience from across the emirates.
The festival management thanked Saber Al Rebai, known as the "Prince of Arabic Tarab" (who makes people gleeful and delights all) for his wonderful performance and praised his incredible talent. They also expressed appreciation to the artist for saluting his fans who were waiting for him outside the theatre to thank him for the wonderful show.
'UAE my second home'
Al Rebai described the UAE as his second home and said that he felt that he was among his friends and family in Sharjah. He thanked his fans for attending the concert and said: "I am very pleased with the event, the wonderful audiences and distinctive atmosphere of the Sharjah World Music Festival. It was a wonderful and enjoyable evening." Al Rebai thanked the UAE and Sharjah for organising the festival, and promised to return soon for another show.
Even as one of the members from the audience behaved in an impolite way with the singer, the latter took it in his stride and said it was just a "personal act" and that it would not change his love for the UAE.
Al Rebai added: "I would like to assure my audiences and fans in the UAE, whom I love, admire and appreciate, and also my fans in Tunisia and all Arab countries, that this conduct represents only the person himself and does not affect the love and appreciation that I have for my audience in the UAE. Such behaviour is irresponsible and cannot affect the relationship of fraternity and love between the people of UAE and Tunisia."
Al Rebai was referring to an audience member who hurled a piece of plastic at the stage at the end of the show as the singer was leaving the stage. Security immediately restrained the man who is being questioned about his act and the management has said it intends to take legal action against him. The festival management stressed that this was a an isolated incident in an otherwise successful and peaceful event.
Festival to go on until Jan 12
The Sharjah World Music Festival will continue until Jan 12 at The Flag Island. Emirati singer Arwa Ahmed will kick off the show today and Palestinian Le Trio Joubran, which consists of three brothers - Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran - will begin their concert at 9pm.
Tickets are available at Al Qasba's Customer Service desk, Al Majaz Amphitheatre, Al Majaz Waterfront and at
Free concerts were also held in Sharjah's most popular tourist destinations on Thursday night as part of the festival. Al Majaz Waterfront, the Heart of Sharjah, and Al Qasba hosted performances from six internationally acclaimed bands from Argentina, Bulgaria, Russia, Syria, Africa and Brazil in a cultural fusion of music, performed in free outdoor shows. The concerts are open to all and will take place ever night until January 12.
The six-day festival featurings 19 internationally acclaimed artists and bands from 13 countries. It is organised by Furat Qaddouri Music Centre, and sponsored by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). The festival aims to raise the cultural and artistic profile of Sharjah and the UAE and introduce the local community to various musical cultures from other parts of the world. It also aims to add to the emirate's rich portfolio of cultural, artistic and tourist milestones.

Six-day festival features
> 19 internationally acclaimed artists
> bands from 13 countries
> The festival will go on until January 12
Tickets are available at Al Qasba's Customer Service desk, Al Majaz Amphitheatre, Al Majaz Waterfront and at

People dancing to the songs of Saber Al Rebai as he belted out some of his most melodious and popular numbers on Thursday night.
People dancing to the songs of Saber Al Rebai as he belted out some of his most melodious and popular numbers on Thursday night.

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