Dubai’s Music Scene: A Fine Tune in the Making

Learn about our thriving music scene where artists don’t just perform, but connect, learn and listen

Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

The Flipside DXBDubai Culture & Arts Authority

Life in Dubai can run at a fast pace and in many ways Dubai’s homegrown music reflects the city’s unique speed and rhythm. It takes centuries for a city to build up a distinctive sound. The music that has come out of Dubai in its short history is a reflection of its position as a melting pot of cultures and influences and at its core is the essential mix of experimentation and collaboration.    

NOON preforming POLYRHYTHMIC JAZZ-ROCK meets ORIENTAL MUSIC (2019) by NOONDubai Culture & Arts Authority

Take a young band like Noon, a talented trio harking from Egypt (Mohammed Hosny on Oud), India (Ratish Chadha on drums) and the UK (Steven Bedford on bass). They have been playing together for four years, built a following and recorded their first major album. 

More than just the east meets west fusion that would be a natural consequence of their diverse musical and cultural backgrounds, they create something new in the sound they produce, with elements of jazz, funk and global beats.

The Flipside DXBDubai Culture & Arts Authority

Singer Hamdan Al Abri shot to fame in 2008 after his band was nominated as best new act in the MTV Europe Music Awards. Standing out amongst musicians working in Dubai always writing his own material and producing a unique soulful sound, Abri continues to make waves and inspire through his music.

Singer Hamdan Al Abri shot to fame in 2008 after his band was nominated as best new act in the MTV Europe Music Awards. Standing out amongst musicians working in Dubai always writing his own material and producing a unique soulful sound, Abri continues to make waves and inspire through his music.

Entertainment at Art Dubai, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
,
Gaya music preformance, Photo by Phil Seaton, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
Show lessRead more

Music scenes in any metropolis are more than the individual players, but there are always certain talents that shake things up or instigate new directions. The first step for any musician is to find a stage, and consequently an audience and from there a scene can develop. Some start out playing in hotel venues, others at an open mike night, or small concert venues like the Analogue Room or a pop-up by an independent creative producer like The Other Side.

the impact of Sole dxb on the cityDubai Culture & Arts Authority

One-off events and festivals also help galvanise a scene, some on a big scale such as the Dubai Jazz Festival, others like Sikka, Groove on the Grass, Breakout dxb or live music sessions at Project Chaiwala in Alserkal Avenue are more intimate. 

International music labels such as Universal and Sony now have bases in the region. Major concerts and festivals give homegrown talent the chance to open for big acts and play large crowds.

The Flipside DXBDubai Culture & Arts Authority

What the scene needs to thrive are places to not just perform, but to connect, learn and listen. Step in Flipside dxb, the city’s first (and only) independent record shop which opened in Alserkal Avenue in 2018. 

The Flipside DXBDubai Culture & Arts Authority

The brainchild of Shadi Megallaa, the space not only sells an eclectic curated selection of vinyl including local artists and record labels but arranges in-store events for up-and-coming talent. 

The Flipside DXBDubai Culture & Arts Authority

A core group of multi-national creatives who grew up in the city, have spent time playing together and have reached a level of productive kinship. This was demonstrated by the successes of the event dxb4bey in December 2020 which raised funds for Lebanon.    

Noush Like Sploosh (2020)Dubai Culture & Arts Authority

Organised by Niki Mukhi, a guitarist who plays in a quintet and is also a composer and entrepreneur, the event at Dubai Opera brought together leading musicians from a wide variety of genres featuring notable artists Noush Like Sploosh, Bull Funk Zoo and the aforementioned Noon.

Niki Mukhi, From the collection of: Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
Show lessRead more

In the series Sound of the City from Visit Dubai, locally based artists record in iconic places in Dubai: Niki Mukhi was recorded crossing the creek on an abra, Hamdan Al Abri performed live in the Hatta mountains. By making the natural landscape the venue, the music scene becomes accessible to everyone.

Dubai's music SceneDubai Culture & Arts Authority

At this uncertain time, the robustness of Dubai’s music scene, like those across the world, is being tested. That it is still in an experimental phase is perhaps a blessing - its musicians are showing themselves to be adaptive and resilient in the face of change.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps