Nasseer Shamma performs poignant solo at Abu Dhabi Festival
In an Abu Dhabi Festival Commission and World Premiere, the acclaimed Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma was joined by renowned musicians from Italy, Spain, Greece, Colombia and Puerto Rico for a spectacular musical journey at the Emirates Palace Auditorium last night. Naseer Shamma and the Global Music Ensemble delivered an electrifying performance that encapsulated the very heart of the Festival’s central theme of Connecting Culturesby uniting musicians from 7 countries to perform together. The ensemble which included Niño Josele on Spanish guitar, Grammy award winning Giovanni Hidalgo on percussion, Miles Jay on upright bass, Vasilis Saleas on clarinet, Edmar Castaneda on harp and Cesare Picco on piano delighted the audience with an innovative repertoire.
Beginning with a poignant solo from Nasseer Shamma ‘Away from Sadness’ the first half then ended with Naseer Shamma inviting 7 Emirati percussionists on stage to perform a rousing performance of ‘Union, Tomorrow is better’. An original song inspired by the electrifying spirit of the nation during the UAE’s 40th National Day celebrations. The second half opened with ‘Travelling souls’: a narration of a unique spiritual experience and concluded with a thrilling improvisation set from each artist which seamlessly combined together for the grand finale.
Speaking after the performance, Her Excellency Mrs. Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, Founder and Artistic Director of the Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “We were delighted to once again host oud legend Naseer Shamma together with the Global Music Ensemble as part of this year’s Abu Dhabi Festival. This performance embodies the vision of the Abu Dhabi Festival; to transcend borders through music and the arts. The audience was treated to a breath-taking musical performance combining Middle Eastern composition with musical influences from Europe and the America’s to create something truly spectacular.”
The Global Music Ensemble accompanying Naseer Shamma was comprised of a veritable smorgasbord of international talent. Nino Josele, an acclaimed exponent of New Flamenco, and Puerto Rican drummer and Grammy award winning music explorer Giovanni Hidalgo, whose influence on jazz-fusion has led to a number of collaborations with talented artists including Dizzy Gillespie delighted the audience with their flamingo inspired beats. The audience was also treated to US-born Miles Jay who combines classical and jazz with Middle Eastern music and has worked with Youssou N’Dour, Ziad Rahbani and Fathy Salama. Greece’s most celebrated clarinetist, Vasilis Saleas, Colombia’s composer-musician, Edmar Castaneda and acclaimed Italian pianst Cesare Picco completed the all-star ensemble who worked alongside Naseer Shamma to create a mesmerizing sound and whose rehearsal process for this concert spanned three major cities.
Speaking after his performance, Naseer Shamma said: “I am always very excited to perform my music in the Middle East and even moreso to return to participate in Abu Dhabi Festival. I performed during the inaugural edition and am very proud how the festival has grown and progressed since 2004. Music is the most beautiful language; it can be appreciated by anyone regardless of their background. Music is a journey that links people from all over the world and their unique cultures, and this collaboration allowed me to combine the traditional elements of my Middle Eastern heritage with musical influences from around the world.”
Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation will be releasing a live recording of the performance in the near future.