Music of the United Arab Emirates

Music of the United Arab Emirates
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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 East Africans.

The country's most famous performers are Ahlam (the first female pop star in the Persian Gulf), Abdel Moniem Al Saleh or Moniem (who is renowned for his songwriting, music production and singing, and for being the first Emirati musician to blend Indian, Spanish and Arabic music), Aithah Al-Menhali, and Al Wasmi. Other singers from the United Arab Emirates include Samar, Reem, Rouwaida, and Abdallah Belkhair.


Underground music in the UAE

The UAE houses a considerably lively underground music scene, consisting mostly of expatriates, concentrated in Dubai. The majority of local artists play Rock and Metal music, but some bands playing alternative styles of music such as Ska, Punk, House music and Experimental have also emerged.

A cover band scene is prevalent in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with groups such as The Rockspiders, Flipside, The Meerkats and The Maplejacks performing regularly in various bars and clubs. Dubai's Blue Bar frequently hosts live jazz perfomances, featuring artists such as Kamal Musallam, Tim Burnell, Rony and Elie Afif, and Blue Light Collective.

Local organizations such as the American University in Dubai Sound Society, Dubai Lime, Blacksheep, Ignite Events, Metality UAE, Ampulance, Shouscene?, Metal Asylum, Rock Nation and Project E are 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 scenesters 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), and UAE Metal Asylum volumes 1 (2010) and 2 (2011).

Local media actively promotes bands from within the UAE; radio stations such as Dubai 92 FM and publications such as 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.

June 2008 saw the re-launch of AXON Stimulus, a creative company serving the underground arts scene in the UAE. Cliché in a Box? - an urban underground art exhibition hosted by Cliché Magazine - showcased AXON's first album release. Entitled The Mutiny, by Obleek Mode (a lounge / experimental trio from Dubai), it 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.

Notable bands

Below is an alphabetical list of UAE-based artists who have released original material commercially:

  • Abri - Albums: Sunchild (2008), Blank Notes (2009)[1]
  • Absolace - Album: Resolve(d) (2010)[2]
  • Anuryzm - Album: Worm's Eye View (2011)[3]
  • Beat Antenna - EP: Half Now, Half Later (2009)[4]
  • Behold the Locus - EP: Behold the Locus (2011)[5]
  • Coat of Arms - Album: This is Manslaughter (2011), DVD: Nobody Knows (2011)[6]
  • Dahab - Albums: Spirit of Sinai (2009), Qabeela'h (2011)[7]
  • Jonas Desai - EP: Get me Out (2008), album: A Weight Off my Mind (2008)[8]
  • Desert Heat - Album: When the Desert Speaks (2008)[9]
  • E.Y.E. - Album: Empty Yard Experiment (2011)[10]
  • Fatiniza - Album: Confusion (2010)[11]
  • Gandhi's Cookbook - EP: In the Cesspool of Culture (2008)[12]
  • Gayathri - EP: Disengage (2009)[13]
  • Tim Hassall - Album: Oh Restless Heart (2010)[14]
  • Juliana Down - Albums: Cause and Affect (2006), Empires (2011)[15]
  • Moonshine - EP: Moonshine (2010)[16]
  • Kamal Musallam - Albums: On a Jordan River's Side (2003), Out of my City (2008), Lulu (2009), Songs for Seung-eun (2011)[17]
  • Nervecell - EP: Human Chaos (2004), Albums: Preaching Venom (2008), Psychogenocide (2011)[18]
  • Nikotin - EP: Short of Panodrama (2009)[19]
  • Sandwash - Album: Master Blaster Hole (2010)[20]
  • Sho? - EP: I Don't Wanna Go (2010)[21]
  • Sun King - Album: Lotus (2008)[22]
  • Jay Wud - Album: New Blood (2010)[23]

See also


  1. ^ Abri - official website
  2. ^ Absolace - official website
  3. ^ Anuryzm - official website
  4. ^ Beat Antenna - official website
  5. ^ Behold The Locus - official website
  6. ^ Coat of Arms - official website
  7. ^ Dahab - official website
  8. ^ Jonas Desai - official website
  9. ^ Desert Heat - official website
  10. ^ E.Y.E. - official website
  11. ^ Fatiniza - official website
  12. ^ Gandhi's Cookbook - official website
  13. ^ Gayathri - official website
  14. ^ Tim Hassall - official website
  15. ^ Juliana Down - official website
  16. ^ Moonshine - official website
  17. ^ Kamal Musallam - official website
  18. ^ Nervecell - official website
  19. ^ Nikotin - official website
  20. ^ Sandwash - official website
  21. ^ Sho? - official website
  22. ^ Sun King - official website
  23. ^ Jay Wud - official website

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