Hekayah | The Story brings together poets, singers, and musicians. 50th Anniversary Jubilee edition.

What does home mean to you? Your country, your city, your family, your living room? Celebrate UAE National Day with a lineup of poets, spoken word artists, musicians, and storytellers from diverse backgrounds and cultures coming together virtually for the 7th annual Hekayah | The Story, in a special 50th Anniversary Jubilee edition.

This year’s edition includes the following program:

- 6:30pm, A conversation between NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann and His Excellency Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Cultural Adviser to the President of the UAE and Chancellor of the UAE University. His Excellency has been active in the United Arab Emirates government service for the past 50 years, and with the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi since 1968. He will give a presentation on the history of the UAE and his work at the side of Sheikh Zayed, the founding President.

- 7:30pm, The lineup of Hekayah Artists featuring:

  • Rami AbuAmmuna – Spoken word poetry (Palestine) – Find him on Instagram.
  • Jawad Al Bdiwi – Music (Palestine/Jordan) – Find him on Instagram.
  • Safeya Alblooshi – Sound Artist (UAE) – Find her on Instagram.
  • Shilpa Ananth – South Indian fusion with soul, jazz, and electronics (India) – Find her on Instagram.
  • Amro Bakri – Music (Jordan) – Find him on Instagram.
  • Farah Chamma – Music and spoken word poetry (Palestine) – Find her on her website.
  • Rand Farmawi – Ancient Arabic and folk (Palestine/Jordan) – Find her on Instagram.
  • Rakaya Fetuga – Spoken word poetry (UK) – Find her on Instagram.
  • Mahmoud Kaabour – Spoken word poetry (Lebanon) – Find him on Instagram.
  • Enid Mollel – Pop and contemporary RnB (Tanzania) – Find her on Instagram.
  • Ommissa – Music (UAE) – Find her on Instagram.
  • Ahmed T. el-Gaili – Spoken word poetry (Sudan)
  • The Vokeys – Abdullah Alshamsi (NotSoHuman), Preston Dcosta, and Fahim – Jazz, RnB, pop and rock (UAE) – Find them on Instagram

Watch the trailer

A one-of-a-kind event that showcases the beautiful diversity of the UAE; A diverse group of artists explore their heritages and cultural performances.

The lineup of performers was selected through a collaborative curatorial process, by key players in the cultural, poetry, arts, and writing communities across the UAE, including: Maryam Khalifa Alshehhi, Marcel Kurpershoek, Hanan Al Sayed Worrell, Noor Al Suwaidi, Dorian Paul Rodgers, and Bill Bragin.


Rami AbuAmmuna

Rami AbuAmmuna is a Palestinian novel writer and poet. His love for his land and ancestors is unbreakable, it is his identity that is manifested through his spoken poetry and words. His upcoming novel Prisoners At Home speaks of his roots, a journey of a young man who found himself unexpectedly stuck in Gaza during the Second Palestinian Intifada. Rami plays the handpan for its mystic sound of earth and forests, and collaborates with other poets and musicians.

Jawad Al Bdiwi

Being immersed in making music for over a decade, Jivvy has been creating artwork that ranges from live improvisational pieces to fully produced original tracks. Inspired by some of his favorite artists, Daft Punk and Gorillaz. Jivvy has developed a unique style comprised of a multitude of genres through continuous experimenting and artistic exploration.

Safeya Alblooshi

Safeya Alblooshi is a sound artist who experiments in the realms of manipulated field recordings, experimental composition, and participatory performance. Using found objects, field recordings, the piano, the computer, and analog technology, she engages with topics of conceptual narrative, environmental listening, and interactivity in performance. Alblooshi has assisted with We Are Not Alone, an audio-visual soundwalk by the Soundwalk Collective for the Louvre Abu Dhabi (2020). She has also done sound for live performance and moving image, most recently for Re|sound V at the Sharjah Arts Foundation (2020). A recent graduate of the New York University Abu Dhabi, Safeya completed her BA in Music with a multichannel immersive capstone installation Narrated Liquid Contaminants for which she investigated sounds of water contamination and embodied listening. In her spare time, Safeya is planning to set up a platform to initiate curiosity and interest in sound art practices in the UAE. Born in Dubai in 1998, Alblooshi is currently based between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Shilpa Ananth

Shilpa Ananth is an Indian vocalist, songwriter, composer, and producer based in Abu Dhabi and Brooklyn, NY. With a unique sound that fuses the dreamy landscapes of South India with soul, jazz, and electronic influences, Shilpa brings together 3 of the oldest Indian languages – Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi – with English, creating art that transcends borders and cultures.
After graduating with honors from Berklee College of Music, and releasing a successful debut EP ‘Indian Soul’, Shilpa has recorded and performed with Grammy award-winning composers, A.R.Rahman, Bobby McFerrin, Bill Whalen, and Javier Limon’s ‘Original Quartet’.

Amro Bakri

As an all round creative, Amro Bakri finds design and music as the ultimate outlets for personal expression. Knowing that his work has a purpose, Amro is able to face any challenge while creating and finding unique pathways for artistic expression.

Farah Chamma

Fairuz Nustas, Rachel Ghanem, Lama Kassem and Farah Chamma form a multidisciplinary performance arts collective which combines music, spoken-word poetry, puppetry, movement, and acting. Their performance Bait Jowwa Bait (Home within Home) will showcase in video format at NYUAD’s Hekayah 2021.

Rand Farmawi

Rand Farmawi is a Palestinian-Jordanian singer based in Dubai. Her music style is heavily influenced by her morning bus rides listening to Fairouz songs in Amman. Living in Washington D.C. for 6 years and in the Caribbean for a year enriched her love for different types of music. Ancient Arabic and Folk is where her vocal strength lies.

Rakaya Fetuga

Rakaya Fetuga is a performance poet and theatre maker from London of Ghanaian and Nigerian heritage. She is the winner of the Roundhouse Slam 2018 and Rooftop Rhythms x Brooklyn Poetry Slam Season 9 finale in 2021. Rakaya’s writing often returns to cultural heritage, faith, and overlapping identities.

Mahmoud Kaabour

Mahmoud Kaabour is a Lebanese filmmaker and author who grew up in the UAE. His films Grandma, A Thousand Times, Champ Of The Camp, and Being Osama won top awards at festivals including: London International, MAMI, & Tribeca. He is based in Berlin & Dubai.

Enid Mollel

Enid Mollel is an emerging singer-songwriter from Tanzania and is currently working towards a BFA in Music Performance at NYU Abu Dhabi. Her music is a fusion of pop and contemporary R&B, drawing inspiration from artists such as Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, and ChloexHalle among others. The rising artist began her songwriting journey at a young age. She has released a demo of her self-love anthem “I Love Me” and plans to officially release an album in the future. Enid has focused on honing her craft, improving her production skills, and attending songwriting workshops including the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriter’s Project. She hopes to have her songs played on the radio someday and possibly write music for other artists as well.


Ommissa is an emerging artist based in Abu Dhabi. She published her first musical works as a recording artist in 2021. She has found an opportunity with Hekaya to venture as a performing artist for the first time. Her works have a recurring theme of self reflection and growth and are inspired by her personal life experiences and interests.

Ahmed T. el-Gaili

Ahmed el-Gaili is an amateur classical Arabic poet. He started writing poetry at the age of 14 and has written over 50 poems covering ranging themes from love to eulogies to banter with siblings and friends. While living in London, he co-founded Qawafi Al-Dabhab, a monthly Arabic poetry study group. By day he is a partner at an international law firm splitting time between Dubai and Riyadh. He received a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in Economic Development Studies from Harvard College. Ahmed previously served as the President of the Harvard Arab Alumni Association (HAAA). Ahmed currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Beirut Institute, a regional think tank.

The Vokeys – Abdullah Alshamsi (NotSoHuman), Preston Dcosta, and Fahim

The Vokeys are three university students who share a common passion for music. Ft. Abdullah Al- Shamsi on the vocals, Preston Dcosta on keys, and Fahim on the bass guitar. Together the group specialize in diverse genres which creates a fusion of jazz, RnB, pop and rock. They are based in Abu Dhabi and are currently touring the UAE.