- Title: UAE: United Arab Emirates hold its fifth annual jazz festival
- Date: 16th March 2007
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE ARMENIAN JAZZ COMPOSER GUY MANOUKIAN SAYING: ''I was born in lebanon and from a very young age began to play classical music. And I'm of Armenian origin, so I've got classical and Armenian influences. Lebanon is a francophone country so you're exposed to French music. You grow up listening to Radio One (an English-language Lebanese radio station), and so you've got influences from music from the English-speaking world. I grew up a little more, and fell in love with Warda al-Jazairia (French-born Algerian singer) and discovered Arabic music. So it's natural that when I'm composing music, I get this mix.''
- Embargoed: 31st March 2007 13:00
- Topics: Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA48KI3L7XE3J6UAOJ3UUUTYCZQ
- Story Text: Thousands of jazz lovers congregated on the lawn of a Dubai business complex for the United Arab Emirate's fifth annual Jazz festival. Locally-based artists shared the stage with international jazz icons, creating a mesmerizing three days of musical entertainment.
The festival kicked off events on Thursday (March 8) with the Dubai-based Kamal Musallam Trio, eclectic lebanese composer Guy Manoukian and classic jazz diva from the USA Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Jordanian musician Kamal Musallam is the founder of the trio which is named after him, and which brings together Arab musicians and singers based in the UAE.
During the festival, Musallam showcased in the country for the first time an instrument called the "Glicentar," a cross between a standard guitar and the popular Arab instrument the oud. Once an architect, Kamal Musallam believes the Dubai Jazz festival is an essential springboard for his new career choice.
''It's always one of the best festivals in the region. We expect to grow and improve every year. This year, the opening was great, the stage and the crowd seemed to enjoy us quite a lot despite the fact that technical problems happen all the time, but that doesn't take away from the fact that music should always be more important than anything else," Musallam said.
Guy Manoukian returned to his faithful Lebanese fan base in Dubai, serenading them with his multi-genre blend. The multi-award winner took them by storm when he performed his own rendition of a number from lebanese diva Fairouz.
Manoukian explained why his music brought together a number of cultural and artistic influences.
''I was born in Lebanon and from a very young age, began to play classical music and I'm of Armenian origin, so already, I've got the classical and Armenian influences. Lebanon is a francophone country so you're exposed to French music. You grow up listening to Radio One (english radio station), and so you've got english music. I grew up a little more, and fell in love with Warda al-Jazairia (French-born Algerian singer) and discovered arabic music. So it's natural that when I'm composing music, I get this mix," Manoukian said.
Despite its reputation as a corporate event, many fans saw the jazz festival as a chance to experience a cultural celebration in a city often derided as a "cultural desert."
''This is my first time in Dubai in this jazz festival. It's pretty amazing because I actually grew up here and I didn't know that Dubai would actually become a cultural hub of the Middle East. You see so many cultures mixing in. I never thought this would happen in Dubai," said Dubai resident Wael Jabi.
American jazz diva Dee Dee Bridgewater also mixed a number of musical influences in her performance. She has been on tour showcasing her latest creation, the album "Red Earth," in which she has fused traditional African music from Mali with classic jazz. Her large band featured musicians and singers from the African country.
This year's festival was split into three sections: the "Fusion Jazz" evening, followed by the "Rock Jazz" evening which included a performance by jazz legends Toto, and finally the "Pop Jazz" evening featuring star Jamie Cullum.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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