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Music on Flag Island: day one

16 December 2016


Sharjah’s Flag Island is best known for its eponymous 123m flagpole, but it also has an art gallery (1971 Design Space), a café, and a 1,000-seat open-air amphitheatre – which is due to host a two-day music festival featuring some really interesting performers on 16 and 17 December.

Day 1 kicks off at 2pm with Music, Ritual & Fun, a drumming/singing workshop with Iza Kowalewska (vocals) and Ryszard Bazarnik (percussion). This is their speciality: the blurb says the workshop “will use music therapy to channelise (sic) rhythm and song for creating positive energies among participants”. The Polish duo work mainly with children and young adults, but this looks like a fun session for all; it runs from 2pm to 6pm, so it will be a long one, but by the end you’ll perform together as a single band.

Iza and Ryszard are co-creators of Koncert na Ścianie (Concert on the Wall), “a work of art involving music, alpinism and architecture that defies all laws of gravity”. Musicians strapped on to a wall using climbing equipment play a two-hour gig, with dancers, stiltwalkers and acrobats also featuring. The building is as much the star of the show as the performers.

The evening features two concerts from 6pm. First there’s Carlos Guedes, currently Associate Arts Professor of Music at NYU Abu Dhabi; he’s an interesting composer/musician who works in many genres – he’s composed music for contemporary dance (at least five full ballets plus shorter pieces), theatre, more than 15 scores for film, interactive installations, and more conventional instrumental music. He has some lovely ambient pieces, too – try this. His use of digital technology has made him a regular at computer arts and sound events around the world.

We don’t know exactly what he’ll be doing, but at his Sharjah concert he will be accompanied by saxophonist and clarinettist Emil Sein – another NYUAD lecturer (he’s Adjunct Instructor of Music there).

Then at 8pm Iza Kowalewska returns. She has a great voice, described by someone as “a voice of many colours that effectively works as a painter paints colours”. It’s especially good for sultry jazz; she used to sing with a Polish jazz band called Muzykoterapia (Music Therapy) and here’s a rather fine piece from them that’s going on the magpie playlist. She also does more mainstream pop/rock tunes, like Nocna Zmiana Kobiet (Night Shift Women).

On the Saturday Carlos Guedes is back, running a workshop which sounds like fun – recycling junk into musical instruments.

We have no more information than this – nothing about maximum numbers, or how/where to sign up, or even what the official name of the event is. Apologies for that. Except we understand that entrance to both the concert and the workshops is free.


16 December 2016
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