When a freelance musician arrives in the UAE, often the first place they visit is a warehouse in Al Quoz.
Since Shelley Frost set up The Fridge back in 2007, it’s promoted, managed and collaborated with artists and entertainers from all around the world. Established to help shine a spotlight on talent here in the UAE, Shelley’s aim was to help Dubai develop a ‘real’ music scene ‘from the ground up’. A professional harpist herself, the South African expat explains how she satisfies her appetite for live music over summer and lets us in on her dream duo...
Working in live entertainment, it must be quiet over Ramadan, how do you occupy yourself?
The office stays extremely busy because we do a lot of planning over summer. We’re all doing research and we’re busy every day with proposals for the coming season.
Are there still places music lovers can visit over Ramadan?
Something that is worth checking out is the Arabic music around town and one of the best places is the Emaar Ramadan tent. There will be a fusion Arabic band performing there with an Indian flute and tabla player. That’s definitely something to see.
Aside from The Fridge, where do you go to hear decent music the rest of the year?
Somewhere that always seems to have something interesting on the go is The Music Room at the Majestic Hotel in Bur Dubai. The Archive in Safa Park often hosts musicians too.
Where’s your favourite place for live music?
New York is extremely exciting with amazing musicians in every corner. Copenhagen has some fascinating music too. But some of the most memorable musical experiences can happen on the streets in Bamako or walking past a Nepalese monastery. There really is music everywhere, except in Dubai’s streets of course!
Many musicians audition at The Fridge. Any that stand out particularly?
Discovering the Dubai Vocal Ensemble was amazing. They auditioned and sang one of their traditional songs in Tagalog. Everyone in the room had goosebumps. It was a moving and passionately committed performance. Years later they won the first Choir of the Year competition to be hosted in the UAE.
You’ve shared a stage with Kanye West  and Jose Carreras and hosted some amazing musicians at The Fridge, but what would be your perfect gig?
My dream would be to bring [American/Canadian singer songwriter] Rufus Wainwright over. He is one of my favourite musicians. He has used bits of harp on various tracks too so it’d be pretty cool to work with him. He has an incredibly harmonic melodic sound that is really unusual.
See thefridgedubai.com  for info on their gigs.