Forget hotel cover bands and try some music with a difference
Time Out Bahrain staff
Ahmed and Adel Ahmed Al Qasim and Adel Fairooz offer up a classy, jazz-bluesy set. These Bahraini musicians have known each other 15 years and played together almost that long. Ahmed’s on bass and vocals and, if you recognise the face or style, you’ve probably seen him with local bands Ossia, formerly La Movida, and Osiris. Adel’s guitar credentials are equally as impressive, he was a founder of Bahrain’s first flamenco group and has played with the likes of Johannes Linstead.
Where? Mei N Yu, Amwaj Lagoon. When? Thursday evenings. Call (16 010 160).
Alderon A group of young Bahraini lads whose aim is the Red Hot Chili sound which, in our view, can’t be a bad thing. They play a mix of covers and self-penned tunes (there’s an EP in the making) and, if you’re a fan of indie rock, their monthly unplugged session is a real find.
Where? Déjà Vu Lounge, Adliya. When? First Friday on the month. Call (13 657 770).
Caribbean Beats OK, yes they’re a house band, but they are a bit different so they get a place in our list just for that. Banging out a really buzzing Latin beat, they play lots of salsa as well as some raggaeton and some more traditional stuff with drums and pipes. It’s a dining venue but, be warned, it does get very lively.
Where? Latin Quarter, Pars Hotel, Juffair. When? Nightly except Sunday Call (17 814 777).
Cubanason Julia Marta Álvarez Lantigua, on violin and vocals, and Cristian Michel Abreu Arbelo on guitar, saxophone and vocals. A genuine South American sound from a duo who formed in Mantanzas, Cuba, back in 2000. They play jazz, bossa nova, flamenco, salsa, merengue, cha cha cha and bachata as well as some more poppy sounds, so if you’re heading down to Sofitel, make sure to bring your dancing shoes.
Frankie’s Friends One of the island’s longest serving bands. This group all have other jobs and get together two nights a week to offer up a range of styles from rocking Motown to downright dirty blues. With such a long history, there are few requests they can’t fulfill and Christine Gordon’s outstanding voice soars filling the two-storey space seemingly effortlessly. Up and Down also occasionally brings in international artists so check with the venue for details.
Friends Band Otherwise known as the jazzy duo at Muju, the former Bulgarian Friends Band are two young classically-trained Bulgarian women who’ve gained a loyal following among Amwajites with their laid-back blend of jazz standards and more contemporary stuff with a jazz-style twist. And the venue certainly works for them, on balmy evenings you can hear their haunting sounds drifting on the breeze as they take their act outside onto the deck terrace. They also play at the weekly Friday brunch.
Where? Muju at the Dragon Hotel, Amwaj. When? Nightly except Sunday and Tuesday. Call (16 039 800).
Lelane & Jamelo Another jazz-based duo but this time with a more bluesy bent thanks to the smoky tones of singer Lelane, who began her musical career in South Africa. This pair have only been playing together for about a year but sound like they’ve been entertaining for ever perhaps due to the wide experience of award-winning musician Jamelo who’s plied his trade at various international jazz festivals.
Where? Mezzanine Lounge, Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre When? Sunday-Friday Call (17 171 000).
Mexican Yoliztli Trio Two girls and one guy from Mexico performing traditional and modern Mexican music, sounds a bit like lift music but with a Latin beat and keeps the restaurant crowd happy and they’ll do requests if you fancy a little Spanish sing along. And no, they don’t always dress like this!