Fancy free live music every day for a week? Check this out
Time Out Bahrain staff
It hardly seems believable, but the Bahrain International Music Festival is now in its 20th year. That’s 20 years the Ministry of Culture has been organising the event, arranging nightly performances of fantastic artists and orchestras from around the world. From October 15-20, there is the opportunity to see and hear some truly inspirational performers, and unlike most concerts, these won’t cost you a single dinar.
Each of the concerts takes place at the Cultural Hall adjacent to the Bahrain National Museum, starting at 8pm. Highlights are set to include UNESCO artist of peace Missa Johnouchi, playing with the Orchestra of Bahrain, and well known Beatles songs performed in the baroque orchestral style. This is an event not to be missed, raising the cultural bar in the kingdom, bringing an entertaining and also educational experience. Want to know more about the artists taking part? Read on. The Bahrain International Music Festival takes place from October 15-20 at the Cultural Hall. Each concert begins at 8pm. More info at www.moc.gov.bh.
Missa Johnouchi Saturday, October 15, 8pm. This Japanese composer, pianist, conductor and singer was named the UNESCO Artist for Peace in August 2006. It was studying music in France in her youth that brought her into contact with the Orchestre National De l’Opera de Paris and the Orchestre National de Paris, who have worked with her on most of her albums. She has recorded many of her own piano compostions, and also directed a number of different orchestras in a wide variety of countries. Albums include Asian Blossoms, Friends and Spiritual Discovery, each featuring Asian-influenced New Age material. She earned her UNESCO status after performing for victims of September 11 in New York, and at the Syndey Opera House to celebrate 30 years of Japan and Australian relations – she still serves as a messenger for the charity, promoting peace through music.
Cristina Branco Sunday, October 16, 8pm. Portuguese singer Cristina Branco specialises in ‘fado’ music, native to her home country. This generally means applying her sultry voice to piano and guitar, with Custodio Castelo acting as composer, and while she sings in her native Portuguese, you can still understand the themes of suffering, helplessness and longing that seem to linger in her work. Cristina has been performing since 1996 and played across the globe – her most recent album, Fado Tango, was released in April, and puts the verses of many of her favourite Portuguese poets to music.
Mike del Ferro Trio Monday, October 17, 8pm. Hailing from the Netherlands, Mike del Ferro is an extremely talented pianist, touring the world and often trying to explore the music of local cultures – his father was an opera singer, so music runs strong in the family. Mike’s style does tend to be mainly Western jazz improvisation, but every now and then you can detect the influence of Asia, South America and Africa. Well known as a soloist, it is only recently that Mike has begun to mix things up, performing with fellow artists as a trio. He has a number of CDs to his name – the first released under the Mike del Terro Trio name will come in the autumn, with a second in 2012 that features artists from Brazil.
Issa Hassan Tuesday, October 18, 8pm. A little closer to home, Issa Hassan was born in Beirut, and is a musician and music composer specialising in Kurdish rhythms. He now resides in Paris, which has also given a different flavour to his performances. Most of his music is played on the bouzouk – a long-necked lute – and he has taken this with him and performed all over the world. He originally came to France as part of a Turkish dance ensemble back in 1984, and then played with various bands before striking out on his own with the aid of support musicians. His music is described as a cross between folk, flamenco and jazz.
Beatles Go Baroque by the Berg Chamber Orchestra Wednesday, October 19, 8pm. Think you’ve heard the music of the Beatles? Think again. This is a twist on the music of John, Paul, George and the other one, as the Berg Chamber Orchestra reimagines well known Beatles songs by deconstructing them, then rebuilding and performing each in the orchestral baroque style (Handel, Vivaldi, Bach). The orchestra, hailing from the Czech Republic, will perform ‘She Loves You’, ‘Penny Lane’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘Hey Jude’ in ways you won’t have heard before. Founded in 1995, the group seeks to support and promote young musicians, with an emphasis on chamber and solo music. Some songs will be performed by the orchestra as a whole, others with just one artist.
The Higher Institute of Music Thursday, October 20, 8pm. Just a short flight away in Kuwait, the Higher Institute of Music is actually an initiative set up by the government there to develop music and abstract musical sciences within Kuwait society, and has teachers specialising in composition, instruments and Arabic singing. Many of the students launch their own bands, or find work in the music industry, but many will be making their way over to Bahrain for the last day of the International Music Festival for an evening of classical music, showcasing their skills with an uplifting performance.