Friday, 15 April 2011

Abu Dhabi Dub - Womad

The Viaduct Bards - Poetry in Motion

Last weekend's Womad Festival in Abu Dhabi was a great way to wind up two weeks of holidays in the desert which I now call home.  It was such a family and child friendly event with children still playing on the beach in the dark after midnight, while their parents danced barefooted to Jimmy Cliff in the warm sultry breeze.  With children's workshops over the three days making camel head dresses, falcon hats and cobras culminating in a children's procession on Saturday evening and food tasting from around the world, the Corniche was a melting pot of different cultures merging as one, as they experienced great music and art.

For me the highlight was the Trispan Tent with its large rugs, luxuriant red and gold cushions where we lounged and listened to music over the weekend.  On Friday night I was swept off my feet by an Egyptian band 'El Tanbura' who cooked, sang and danced to a delighted audience.  Singing old and new songs.  One song was over 700 hundred years old - so it was appropriate that the oldest person in the band sang it for us.    It was the best cookery demonstration I have ever been at.

By Saturday evening we spent most of our evening there.  Iseult, my four year old daughter followed the colourful procession with the Dhol Foundation drummers gathering a large band of Indian expats on its way.  She learned a few reggae moves from Ripton Lindsay who also performed a live version of Abu Dhabi Dub with the children to finish off his dance workshop and did some drumming with the Dubai Drummers.  She played with other children making sand castles while we sipped coffee and basked in all the balmy cultural fringe events in the tent.

No alcohol was needed to enjoy this event by the beach.  Although I did manage to fit in a pint after Jimmy Cliff's performance in one of the nearby hotel bars - the only place where one can drink in Abu Dhabi.  The only drawback was I got two large mosquito bits on my leg.  However I can't wait for next year's festival and I will make sure I have my insect repellent with me.

Photographs by Sean Brady

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful photos! Its not easy to capture those moments-well done Sean!