What to expect from Bahrain's celebration of world music
1 It’s the Silver Jubilee The Bahrain International Music Festival is officially in its 25th year of running. Coinciding with the year-long Bahrain Your Destination campaign, the event is bringing acclaimed performers from around the region and beyond, and from a range of musical genres, together on the island in a celebration that aims to start an intercultural dialogue.
2 Before the music, see some art Alongside the programme of musical performances, an art exhibition called Parallelism will run at the Art Centre. It presents the visions of a group of young artists who explore the idea of parallel philosophy in our lives. They ask the questions: Do strings have to be parallel to make beautiful music? What would happen if they interweave? Free. October 6-31, 8am-8pm. Art Centre, next to Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Corniche,www.culture.gov.bh.
3 Experience traditional Bahraini music Until December 31, an exhibition is being hosted at the Bahrain National Museum to introduce onlookers to the traditions of local musical genres. Bahraini music is characterised by offbeat rhythms and is a reflection of the instrumental sounds of East Africa and the Indian subcontinent. From the percussive pounds on the tabla drums to rhythmic clapping and festive Samry performances, the mainstay of Bahraini music is that everyone – performers and audience alike – interacts by singing, clapping and dancing. Free. October 11-December 31, 8am-8pm. Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Corniche, www.culture.gov.bh.
4 Witness regional stars One of the Arab world’s music superstars, Lutfi Bushnaq, takes to the Bahrain National Theatre’s stage this month. The Tunisian singer will demonstrate his signature style of fusing classic Arabic music with the Andalusian-Tunisian genre of ma’luf, alongside more global influence. From BD10. Thursday October 13, 8pm. Bahrain National Theatre, Muharraq. Tickets sold in Virgin Megastore, City Centre Bahrain (17 172 300).
5 Discover The Sound of Peace
Performed by Musicians Without Borders, an ensemble of five musicians from around the globe, this world music concert aims to promote harmony between people of different nationalities by showcasing various heritages and how they can blend together to create something beautiful. The musicians are from Argentina, Bahrain, Egypt, France and Iraq. Free. Friday October 14, 8pm. Cultural Hall, next to the Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Corniche, www.culture.gov.bh.
6 Tap your toes to jazz
Bahraini-British trumpet player and composer Yazz Ahmed, who previously featured on Radiohead’s album The King of Limbs, brings her unique melancholic sounds to the Cultural Hall. Inspired by the traditional seafaring chants of Bahraini pearl divers and women’s wedding songs, Ahmed also injects her style of jazz and electronica to create very original concerts. Free. Saturday October 15, 8pm. Cultural Hall, next to the Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Corniche, www.yazzahmed.com.
7 See a Grammy Awards nominee
Sitar player Anoushka Shankar, who was the first Indian female and youngest-ever nominee of the Grammy Awards’ World Music category, will perform music from her latest album Land of Gold, which was inspired by the plight of refugees and humanity’s quest for inner peace. From BD10. Sunday October 16, 8pm. Bahrain National Theatre, Muharraq, www.anoushkashankar.com. Tickets sold in Virgin Megastore, City Centre Bahrain (17 172 300).
8 Slovenia meets Italy
Italian flautist Massimo Mercelli and Slovenian harpist Mojca Zlobka Vajgl come together in Bahrain to present a programme of pieces specifically designed for the flute and harp. This concert admits children aged ten and above only. Free. Wednesday October 19, 8pm. Cultural Hall, next to Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Corniche, www.massimomercelli.com.
9 Check out the Bahrain Music Band This collective of musicians was formed back in 1996 and has since been the country’s musical ambassador in celebrations both here and abroad. For 20 years now, it has been serving as a platform for Bahraini composers to perform their works, which they will do this month at the Cultural Hall. Free. Thursday October 20, 8pm. Cultural Hall, next to Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Corniche, www.culture.gov.bh.
10 Learn what fjiri is... Well, we can tell you it’s the local genre which was created by pearl divers in the country. But to really understand what it’s all about, head down to see the Qalali Band perform at Dar Jina’a. This performance will introduce you to this seafaring and pearling tradition, which local legends say was learned by humans through an encounter with supernatural forces… Dum dum dumdummmm. Free. Saturday October 22, 8.30pm. Dar Jina’a, Muharraq, www.culture.gov.bh.
In Numbers The Bahrain International Music Festival
8 The minimum age for children at most of the events, apart from the flute and harp performance, when kids need to be ten and older.
10 The number of nationalities involved. The musicians are from Bahrain, Tunisia, Argentina, Egypt, France, Iraq, the United Kingdom, India, Slovenia, and Italy.
1990 The year this traditional music festival actually started. It’s now in its 25th year and celebrating its official Silver Jubilee.