If you’re in or around Dubai on January 20th, do yourself a favour and don’t miss out on Wasla Festival’s first edition, featuring Mashrou’ Leila, JadaL, Souad Messi amongst many more - it is bound to be epic.
Our region has come a long way when it comes to alternative indie music - every day more emerging artists are gaining the recognition they deserve thanks to the efforts of devoted cultural organisations who are working hard on bridging the gap between the audience and upcoming underground talent. Dubai’s Wasla is no exception. On the 20th of January, at the colossal Dubai Media City Amphitheater, they will launch the first edition of their music festival, bringing in musical talent from across the Arab world.
The line up is too astronomical to fit in one day, but they’ve managed to pull it off, so be careful because your musical taste buds might overdose on pure joy. Acts leading the headline include Beirut paragons Mashrou' Leila, Algerian berber ballad queen Souad Massi, rising Jordanian stars JadaL, and our very own Egyptian knob-fiddling vulture Neobyrd.
It doesn’t stop here; dig deeper into the line-up and you’ll find more underground gold. Also set to perform is Tunisian singer and song-writer Emel Mathlouthi, who is an icon mainly for her songs-turned-Tunisian-revolution-anthems, among other things. Again from Tunisia The Salhi Project, a recent venture between sufi/jazz singer Mounir Troudi, renowned percussionist Imed Alibi and French Jazz trumpeter Michel Marre. Finally, Dubai’s very own Abri & Funk Radius will dish out some very warm neo-soul, funk, and reggae - much like they’ve been doing all over the city recently.
To sum it up, this festival is bringing a handpicking of the finest musicians from all around the Middle East to your front lawn - or like a three hour flight from your front lawn if you live in Cairo. An impressive feat for their first edition, Wasla are set on bringing good times and better sounds to the Dubai masses in the form of a multi-cultural day dream.
Check out some of the artist’s work:
Mashrou’ Leila - Aoede
Mashrou’ Leila performing Aoede at AUB’s 150th anniversary.
Souad Massi - Khssara Aalik
Khssara Aalik a classic song from Souad Massi’s acclaimed 2001 debut album Raoui.
JadaL - Ana Bakhaf Min El Commitment
One of the songs that started it all for JadaL, Ana Bakhaf Min El Commitment.
Neobyrd - My Sweet Heartless
Neobyrd’s My Sweet Heartless caught the eyes and ears of many with its mellow electro sound, reminiscent of French masters like Kavinsky and Justice. Off his 2011 debut album Transbyrd
Emel Mathlouthi - Ana Kelmti Horra
Emel Mathlouthi performing her revolutionary anthem Ana Kelmti Horra at the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize concert.
The Salhi Project - Chiraz
The Salhi Project performing Chiraz at MCD (Monte Carlo Doualiya), a glimpse of what to expect.
Abri & Funk Radius - Shake Everything You Got
Abri & Funk Radius’ Neo-Soul grooves are not to be missed.