Emirati youth to pay tribute to the UAE in song

Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain: Courtesy WAM

AL AIN (WAM) — In homage to traditional Emirati songs, Al Jahili Fort is to host a series of concerts as part of the wider Al Ain Programme of cultural initiatives. The Memory of the Emirati Song series will begin this Thursday, 16th February, as the nation’s young performers, headlined by Majed Hamad Shehab, play familiar melodies from the 50s, 60s, and 70s while singing the words of original Emirati poetry.

The United Arab Emirates’ rich and varied artistic traditions include folk songs that emerged as accompaniments to traditional activities such as fishing and pearl diving, general desert life and celebrations to mark notable events. In the late 1940s, distinctive modern Emirati voices began to emerge, producing songs with a modern flavour still rooted in the traditional singing styles of the Emirates, yet influenced by contemporary music from elsewhere in the region.

Despite being only half a century old, the Emirati folk song plays an important socio-cultural role and forms the foundation of the nation’s collective memory. Often penned by the leaders of Emirati society, these songs serve as expressions of their wisdom and experience, embodying the nation’s architectural, economic and educational renaissance. Their authors include the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Dr. Maneh Saeed Al Otaiba. Poets from previous generations such as Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed, Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhboot, Sheikh Saeed bin Tahnoon, and Said bin Otaij Hamli Joehr Al Sayegh are also notable contributors. Prominent poets from later generations include Sultan Al Darmaki, Abdullah bin Zeban, Ahmed Al Kindi, Abdullah bin Sultan bin Salim, Ahmed bin Sultan bin Salim, Ali bin Rahma Al Shamsi and female writers such as Ousha bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi and Afra’a bint Saif Al Mazroui.

The Emirati folk song comprises the three basic elements of poetry, melody and voice, representing a blend of social, artistic and cultural influences.

The full Al Ain programme of cultural and artist initiatives, organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, provides a multitude of ways for visitors to interact with the Emirate’s cherished history, and has been curated to support the UNESCO theme, ‘Protecting our Heritage and Fostering Creativity’.

Incorporating tangible and intangible heritage aspects of daily life in the UAE, the programme will run throughout 2017 at several iconic locations across the Emirate’s Garden City, offering events for both visitors and residents alike.

Al Ain is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities, and the home to the UAE’s only UNESCO World Heritage site open to the public.