Music of the United Arab Emirates
Life in the UAE
The music of the United Arab Emirates stems from the Persian Gulf khaleeji tradition, and from Bedouin folk music. Distinctive dance songs from the area's fishermen are also well-known. Liwa (or leiwah / leywah) is a type of music and dance performed mainly in communities which contain descendants of Bantu peoples from the African Great Lakes region.
The country's most famous performers are Mohammed Al Muhairi (better known as Mehad Hamad), Ahlam Ali Al Shamsi (the first female pop star in the Persian Gulf), Abdel Moniem Al Saleh (who is renowned for his songwriting, music production and singing, and for being the first musician based in the UAE to blend Indian, Spanish and Arabic music), Aitha Al Menhali, and Hussain Al Jasmi. Other singers from the United Arab Emirates include: Samar Mattar, Reem Al Mahmoudi, Ruwaida Al Mahrouqi, Haneef Al Raisi, Shamma Hamdan, Fayez Al Saeed and Abdallah Belkhair.
Underground music in the UAE
The UAE houses a lively underground music scene, consisting mostly of expatriates. Concentrated in Dubai, the majority of local artists play rock and metal music. Some bands also play alternative styles of music such as ska, punk, house and experimental sounds.
A cover band scene is prevalent in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with groups such as The Rock Spiders, Flipside, The Meerkats and The Maplejacks performing regularly in various bars and clubs. Dubai's Blue Bar frequently hosts live jazz performances, featuring artists such as Kamal Musallam, Tim Burnell, Rony and Elie Afif, Blue Light Collective, and Marwan & The Mojos.
Local organizations such as the American University in Dubai Sound Society, Ampulance, Blacksheep, Dubai Lime, The Fridge, Ignite Events, Mainstage Music & Events, Metal Asylum, Metality UAE, Phride, Project E, Rock Nation and Shouscene have been key players in moving the music scene forward, in terms of organizing and promoting concerts and bands, as well as providing online discussion areas for local residents wishing to know more about upcoming events.
Various compilation albums showcasing UAE-based underground musicians have been released over the years, including: Ampulance volumes 1 (2006), 2 (2007) and 3 (2009), UAE Metal Asylum volumes 1 (2010) and 2 (2011), and Sikka Score volume 1 (2013).
Local media actively promotes bands from within the UAE; radio stations such as Dubai 92 FM and publications such as What's On magazine, Time Out Dubai and Rolling Stone Middle East include features on local bands on a regular basis. The Dubai One TV show Twenty Something also contains a live performance segment showcasing local acts.
International recording artists Asking Alexandria, Borrison Ivy, The Boxtones, Gayathri, Holly Major and Therése Neaimé have all been based in Dubai at significant times during their careers.
Yassin Alsalman, better known by his stage name The Narcicyst, was born in Dubai in 1982.
Canadian singer Karl Wolf lived in Dubai between the ages of three and seventeen, and has returned to perform in the UAE a number of times.
In June 2008, Axon Collektive's release of The Mutiny by Obleek Mode (a lounge / experimental trio from Dubai) effectively established the presence of electronic music in the UAE.
In 2010, a documentary film about the UAE music scene was released, entitled The Sound of Live.
On 3 October 2012, the Dubai-based rock band Point of View officially launched their debut album Revolutionize the Revolutionary at the Hard Rock Cafe Dubai, with a concert featuring special guest Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal of Guns N' Roses.
Below is an alphabetical list of UAE-based artists who have released original material commercially:
- Abhorred - EPs: The Empire's Fall (2002), The Infinite (2008)
- Abri - Albums: Sunchild (2008), Blank Notes (2009)
- Absolace - Albums: Resolve(d) (2010), Fractals (2012)
- Abstrakt Collision - Album: In the Meantime of Tomorrow (2003)
- Elie Afif Quartet - Album: Giant Steps to Heaven (2011)
- Alison Andrews - Album: Love's a Cure (2011)
- Anuryzm - Album: Worm's Eye View (2011)
- Beat Antenna - EP: Half Now, Half Later (2009)
- Behold the Locus - EP: Behold the Locus (2011)
- Billy Bob's Blood Drenched Brew - Album: The Split (2012)
- Coat of Arms - Albums: This is Manslaughter (2011), Sun and Satellites (2013), DVD: Nobody Knows (2011)
- Dahab - Albums: Spirit of Sinai (2009), Qabeela'h (2011)
- Jonas Desai - EP: Get me Out (2008), album: A Weight Off my Mind (2008)
- Desert Heat - Album: When the Desert Speaks (2008)
- E.Y.E. - Album: Empty Yard Experiment (2011)
- Fatiniza - Albums: Confusion (2010), Nothing is Impossible (2012)
- Gandhi's Cookbook - EP: In the Cesspool of Culture (2008)
- Jennifer Gove - EP: This is my Dirt (2009)
- Ash Hamman - - Album: Ash Hamman (2013)
- The Flaming Trees - EP: Soldier (2009)
- Tim Hassall - Album: Oh Restless Heart (2010)
- Illmiyah - Album: Stereotyped (2012)
- Juliana Down - Albums: Cause and Affect (2006), Empires (2011)
- Malika - Albums: Tarabu (2005), Sand Star (2011)
- Moonshine - EP: Moonshine (2010)
- Kamal Musallam - Albums: On a Jordan River's Side (2003), Out of my City (2008), Lulu (2009), Songs for Seung-eun (2011)
- Naree - Albums: I'm no Fool (2004), Proud (2005), In This Life or the Next (2007), Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (2009), Naree - The Soundtrack (Vol. 1) (2010)
- Nervecell - EP: Human Chaos (2004), Albums: Preaching Venom (2008), Psychogenocide (2011)
- Nightmare Overdose - EP: We're All Strangers (2014)
- Nikotin - EP: Short of Panodrama (2009), Album: Panodrama (2014)
- Obleek Mode - Album: The Mutiny (2008)
- Obselion - EP: The Calm Fire (2012)
- Point of View - Album: Revolutionize the Revolutionary (2012)
- Riff Raff - Album: By the Seat of Our Pants (2012)
- Sandwash - Album: Master Blaster Hole (2010)
- Danny Shirran - Album: Long Time Comin' (2013)
- Sho? - EP: I Don't Wanna Go (2010)
- Sun King - Album: Lotus (2008)
- Vin Sinners - Album: An Element of Surprise (2011)
- Jay Wud - Albums: New Blood (2010), False Utopia (2012)
- Badley, Bill. "Sounds of the Arabian Peninsula". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 351–354. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
- Maho M. Sebiane, « Le statut socio-économique de la pratique musicale aux Émirats arabes unis : la tradition du leiwah à Dubai », Chroniques yéménites, 14, Numéro 14, 2007.
- Abhorred - official website
- Abri - official website
- Absolace - official website
- Abstrakt Collision - official website
- Elie Afif - official website
- Alison Andrews - official website
- Anuryzm - official website
- Beat Antenna - official website
- Behold The Locus - official website
- Billy Bob's Blood Drenched Brew - official website
- Coat of Arms - official website
- Dahab - official website
- Jonas Desai - official website
- Desert Heat - official website
- E.Y.E. - official website
- Fatiniza - official website
- Gandhi's Cookbook - official website
- Jennifer Gove - official website
- Ash Hamman - official website
- The Flaming Trees - official website
- Tim Hassall - official website
- Illmiyah - official website
- Juliana Down - official website
- Malika - official website
- Moonshine - official website
- Kamal Musallam - official website
- Naree - official website
- Nervecell - official website
- Nightmare Overdose - official website
- Nikotin - official website
- Obleek Mode - official website
- Obselion - official website
- Point of View - official website
- Riff Raff - official website
- Sandwash - official website
- Danny Shirran - official website
- Sho? - official website
- Sun King - official website
- Vin Sinners - official website
- Jay Wud - official website