We pick out the highlights of the festival, so you don’t have to...
Time Out Bahrain staff
My Dream, China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe Culture Hall, March 6, 8pm China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe was designated as UNESCO Artist for Peace. Artists with hearing impairments speak their minds and express themselves in dance.
Diana Krall Arad Fort March 12 8.30pm One of the world’s most famous contemporary jazz singers, Canadian Diana Krall has won two Grammys, sold millions of albums and stole the hearts of countless fans. In her first visit to the Gulf region, this will be the hottest ticket in town this festival. For more on the singer the singer, see the Music section of Time Out Bahrain.
Oud Around the World Culture Hall March 14 8pm Omar Bashir, no relation to the odious man who runs Sudan, is the son of Iraq’s greatest oud virtuoso legend of all times Munir Bashir. Omar takes a journey around the world of music with his oud, from Seville to Zanzibar all in the space of one evening.
Farida Mohammed Ali & The Iraqi Maqam Ensemble Culture Hall, March 16, 8pm Farida Mohammed Ali is fast putting the Middle East on the opera world’s map. An Iraqi diva, her performances are renowned for their interplay with the audience and range from the mournful maqam to the livelier pasteh. With a massive global following, this is the closest Bahrain will get to La Scala this year. She will be joined on stage with the oud player Omar Bashir, who is playing solo two nights before.
Balé de Rua Arad Fort March 17-18 8.30pm Brazilian performance art is among the most exciting in the world, and turning up the heat in Muharraq’s Arab Fort will be Balé de Rua, a group that blend hip hop, street ballet, capoeira and samba. Telling the story of working class friend making their way in the world, this is a blaze of percussion dance and song.
The Magic Flute Arad Fort, March 25, 8.30pm Performed by the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio (the migrants orchestra), this performance is a variation on the theme of the famous Mozart opera in which a lost prince goes on a quest to win love in a magical realm. With a Cuban trumpeter to Tunisian vocalists, an American violinist to Senegalese drummers, the 20-nation orchestra blends musical styles from reggae to jazz creating a modern version of this classic.
Mohammad Abdo Arad Fort, March 30, 8.30pm Famed as “The Artist of Arabs” Mohammed Abdo is a landmark in the Arab and the Saudi music industry. Spending most of his childhood at an orphanage, he was noticed for his talent at the tender age of 12 when he sang on a radio programme. A highly esteemed singer and composer, he has released more than 30 albums.
Samaia Culture Hall, March 31, 8.30pm This Georgian group bills itself as, ‘one of the most spectacular shows in the world, an outburst of bright colours, a dazzling rainbow of light and an eruption of energy characterising the legends of the true old nation of the Caucasus. An absolute MUST SEE!’ We can’t wait!
Zaha Hadid Bin Matar House, March 15 – April 30 It is not very often that a country as small as Bahrain gets an exhibition by someone as big as Zaha Hadid. The Pritzker Prize winning British Iraqi architect and designer is perhaps the most influential designer in the world right now, her many gravity defying structures having reshaped the modern building in recent years with the likes of the celebrated Nordkettenbahn cable car in Innsbruck, Austria and the BMW Central Building in Leipzig, Germany, and the Mind Zone at the London Millennium Dome. But whilst changing the characteristics of the urban landscape has bought her fame, she is less well known for her smaller pieces. Bin Matar House in Muharraq will exhibit her unique furniture designs as well as exhibiting some of her rare jewellery pieces. For more information, call 17 322 549.
As the land expands the world gets closer Al Riwaq Art Space, March 2 – April 2 As the land expands the world gets closer has its roots back in a workshop in November, during which British curator November Paynter presented over 100 works in different medium to 15 local students, artists and curators. A discussion was initiated about the cultural climate in Bahrain and the ecological, political and social conditions currently affecting the country, and the result was a collection of work by artists from across the world which have been bought together and made thematic by their relevance to Bahrain today. For more information, call 17 717 441.
Dikakeen Visual Project Manama Souq, March 11-13 We all love the Manama Souq, but there is no denying that no small percentage of it is in a serious state of disrepair. Bahraini artist, Waheeda Malullah, decided to take action and has conceived a project that will allow the souq to become the centre of attention during three days of site-specific art. With 23 regional artists, Waheeda will lead a workshop for two weeks before the beginning of the project. Each artist will choose a derelict shop in the souq (dikakeen in Arabic means shop, incidentally) and reviveit through art. The project will then be show for three days, March 11, 12 and 13. Tours start and end at Al Riwaq Art Space and will run three times a day. For more information, call: 17 717 441.
Collective Design Exhibition Albareh Cafe, March 14-31 In addition to Faisal Samra, the Albareh Art Gallery will be presenting the work of ten international Arab designers hailing from a variety of countries from Morocco to Iraq, and includes the likes of Cynthia Zahar, Fadi Yazigi and Hamza Bounoua. The artwork will feature a collection of work, many of which has been produced specially for the exhibition. The exhibition will be held in the venue adjacent to the gallery. For more information, call: 17 717 707.
May Arida Shaikh Ebrahim Center, March 2, 8pm The founder of Lebanon’s hugely successful Baalbeck Cultural Festival tells the history of the festival and its triumphant return after the Lebanese civil war.
Philippe Aractingi Shaikh Ebrahim Center, March 15, 8pm A lecture from the French-Lebanese film director who has made over 40 films globally, among the most famous being Bosta and Under the Bombs.
Gisele Khoury Al Zayed House March 22 8pm Notorious for her engaging interviews, prominent and prolific journalist of freedom Gisele Khoury is one of Lebanon’s most popular and vociferous reporters. On this occasion she is lecturing about the importance for a solid foundation for culture.
Salwa Mikdadi Shaikh Ebrahim Center, March 29, 8pm Mikdadi is an art historian and curator whose work spans over twenty-five years of Arab art and museums, she is the author and editor of several books and essays on Arab art and was the curator of the first Palestinian Pavilion for 2009 Venice Biennale. She is lecturing on Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st Century.
Empty Cans, Tarek Atoui Al Riwaq Art Space, March 6 11am and 5pm Between February 25 and March 6, Lebanese-born electro-acoustic sound artist will workshop with children and teenagers, using the Empty Cans format, which is a pioneering project that has already been conducted in France, Holland, Lebanon and most recently at the New Museum in New York.
Film screening for children Al Riwaq Art Space, March 6, 13, 20, 27, 11am and 5pm Al Riwaq Art Space hosts outdoor film screenings for children. The films screened will be a selection of animated educational films and will be followed each night at 7pm by adult independent artistic films screened for the public to enjoy.
The Human Jungle Gym, Galumpha Culture Hall, March 9-10, 3.30pm and 5.30pm Combining acrobatics, striking visual effects, physical comedy and inventive choreography, Galumpha brings to life a world of imagination, beauty, muscle and merriment. The three performers create a sensory feast of images, drawn together into a seamless whole, consistently bringing audiences to their feet.
Animalia, Hobey Ford Culture Hall, March 19-20, 11am and 3.30pm Puppeteer Hobey Ford injects a dose of fun when he brings family theatre to life in this show. With his team of ‘Foamies’, he makes animals emerge in movement and music to form a full-on puppet ballet.
Afro Moses Arad Fort, March 20, 5pm A fun-filled performance with renowned children’s performer, multi-instrumentalist and composer, Afro Moses from Ghana. Blending percussion, traditional African, reggae and much more, Moses will sample some of the 14 traditional instruments he can play, showcasing traditional and modern African sounds.
Jungle Book, City Dance Culture Hall, March 26-27, 5pm City Dance Ensemble’s original adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book is an energetic blend of movement, music, mischief, and magic.