Two of the Middle East’s biggest stars collaborate in a rousing performance
Last night at the crowded Emirates Palace auditorium, an enthusiastic audience witnessed a masterpiece of collaboration, with World Music Award winner, singer Latifa and celebrated Oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma. Under the direction of Saeed Kamal, The Secret Orchestra performed pieces composed by Naseer Shamma, melding his mastery of the ancient instrument with Latifa’s powerful and celebrated vocals.
This much anticipated, sell-out performance is part of the 6th Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival, organised by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Renowned for his erudite Oud compositions as much as for his masterful performances, Naseer Shamma is one of the most highly-regarded musicians in the Middle East today. A true master, Naseer is an expert on the ancient instrument, and the only living performer to have constructed an eight-string (instead of the standard six string) Oud, following the manuscript of the famous 9th century music theorist Al-Farabi.
In addition, Naseer is currently director of Beit Al-Oud Al-Arabi in Cairo, which he founded in 1998, and in 2007, with the support of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, opened Beit Al-Oud Al Arabi in Abu Dhabi.
In last night’s performance, Naseer demonstrated the professionalism and expertise which has made him such a celebrated name. With the backing of The Secret Orchestra, Naseer delivered a rousing set of intricate tunes, many of which were performed for the first time. Conjuring up the rich heritage of the Arab lands which first created the Oud, Naseer combined traditional methods stretching back for millennia with his modern compositional style.
A musical prodigy from the age of six, Latifa is one of the most beloved and sought-after singers in the Middle East. With more than ten albums in various styles and different Arabic dialects, her work is as varied as it is exquisite, with fans hailing from all over the world.
Fans were not disappointed by last night’s performance, when she took to the stage in the second half, bringing her unique style to Naseer Shamma’s masterful compositions.
As well as her musical performances, Latifa is also known for her dramatic roles. She was one of the first Arab artists who filmed their music videos in the Cinema-Clip style, and appeared in Yousif Shaheen-directed feature film Silence. we’re rolling in 2001, as well as appearing in Mansor Rahbani theatre production Reign of the Shepherds.
Saeed Kamal and The Secret Orchestra
Saeed Kamal, the acclaimed Egyptian maestro who last night led The Secret Orchestra in their debut, has worked with Naseer for more than ten years, conducting the orchestra “Oyoun”. Last night, under his direction, The Secret Orchestra shined in a performance spiked with enthusiasm and passion. Comprised of Egypt’s finest musicians, members of The Secret Orchestra were personally selected by Naseer to accompany his unique contemporary Arab style and perform his often complicated compositions.
The 6th Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival closes tomorrow night with a piano recital by Karim Said at The British School and is presented by ADMAF with executive producer IMG Artists, the world’s leading performing artist Management Company. The title sponsor of this year’s Festival is the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and the other festival sponsors are Mubadala and Etihad Airways.
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