A musical meeting place of genre-shattering artists in a new single night, multi-stage format.

There’s a place in the sea where salt and sweet water meet and coexist, but don’t dilute one another…barzakh. Newly reinvisioned to present artists on three stages all in the same night, Barzakh Festival draws inspiration from this idea to create a meeting place of musical streams that crosses diverse cultures. Global-minded musicians reflecting varied influences and identities, bring together the contemporary and the traditional into a boundary-shattering line-up that will be filled with musical revelations .

In its 4th edition this year’s lineup features:

  • AMMAR 808 – UAE Debut
  • BCUC – Middle East Debut
  • Bokante – Middle East Debut
  • La Dame Blanche
  • NOON – Play Umm Kulthum – World Premiere Commissioned by The Arts Center
  • Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda – UAE Debut

“Barzakh Festival is the UAE’s widest celebration of global sounds since Womad Abu Dhabi shut up shop in 2010.” – The National

AMMAR 808 – Tunisia via Belgium

  • Deep TR-808 Bass meets Pan-Maghreb beats, timeless voices and futurist visions. AMMAR 808 is the electronic alter-ego to the Brussels-based producer Sofyann Ben Yousef.

BCUC – South Africa

  • Hailing from Soweto, South Africa BCUC draw inspiration from Indigenous music that is not exposed in the mainstream. Ritual songs, shebeen songs, and church songs are infused with rap and a rock and roll attitude.

Bokante – International music ensemble

  • Building on the relationship which began with Malika Tirolien and Snarky Puppy founder Michael League on the Grammy Winning album Family Dinner. Featuring 9 musicians from 4 continents Bokante’s unusual but evocative instrumentation blends musical worlds conveying an urgent message of social awareness against the rising tide of exclusion and human indifference.

La Dame Blanche – Cuba via France

  • With her explosive mix of hip hop, cumbia, dancehall and reggae, the Cuban singer, flautist and percussionist Yaite Ramos Rodriguez, aka La Dame Blanche, delivers a powerful and compelling sound which summons the spirits.

NOON plays Umm Kulthum – UAE

  • The Dubai-based oriental jazz-prog-fusion band presents the world premiere commissioned by The Arts Center interpreting the work of Umm Kulthum. NOON are the kind of band you might expect, or rather hope, to encounter in the UAE – an audio approximation of the Emirates’ cluttered cosmopolitanism and contemporary, borderless ethos.

Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda – Algeria via France

  • A new electro-Maghreb vision headed by Sofiane Saidi, “the Prince of Raï 2.0” (Radio Nova), blending oriental science and contemporary urgency with the vivid and colourful sound of the band Mazalda: analog synthesizers, saz and horns accompanied by phrases from the mezoued, the gasbah, and an ultra danceable rhythm built around deep grooves.

Plus some of the UAE’s leading globally-infused DJ’s between band sets.

Listen to the music

AMMAR 808

BCUC

Bokante

La Dame Blanche

Noon

Sofiane Saidi & Mazalda