The twenty-ninth edition of Bahrain International Music Festival launched Thursday, October 22, 2020, ongoing until October 31, as the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities has organized performances near the Qal’at al-Bahrain Site Museum in front of a live audience that will attend via their cars. Celebrated artist Abeer Nehme will launch the festival with her concert “World Music to Dilmun” that will begin at 8:00 PM.
On this occasion, Her Excellency Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, said, “As we have done each year, we celebrate music as a global language for dialogue and communication with other cultures this October through the Bahrain International Music Festival, currently on its twenty-ninth year, thus affirming the sustainability of our festivals and cultural programs at even the most difficult of times.” Her Excellency added that, “This year’s festival comes in the midst of the exceptional circumstances caused by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, and despite this we have insisted this festival be held on time, and have undertaken great efforts to convey the voice of culture to our audiences everywhere.”
Her Excellency clarified that holding the twenty-ninth at the Qal’at al-Bahrain site, which is registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, reflects the harmonious convergence of civilizations, the blending of different peoples and cultures in one place. The Culture Authority confirms its commitment to the precautionary and preventive measures set in place throughout the festival as the crowd will attend via their cars.
Her Excellency Shaikha Mai bint Mohammad Al Khalifa thanked all those who contributed to the success of the Bahrain International Music Festival this year, both public and private bodies, and the unwavering support of the Arabic Republic of Egypt in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Her Excellency also thanked the staff and cadres of the Culture Authority, stressing that this humanitarian achievement is made possible through collective effort and cooperation.
Throughout the festival, various musical and lyrical styles will be showcased ranging from folk arts, oriental singing, Latin rhythms and jazz. The festival includes a number of creative musical workshops presented by the Bahrain Institute of Music that will be hosted at the Bahrain National Theater between October 25 and 28.
The Culture Authority seeks to provide an alternative experience for pioneers of the cultural movement in Bahrain while adhering to the precautionary and preventive measures set in place to limit the spread of the Coronavirus as public safety is a top priority. Live audiences will be only able to watch the festival concerts from their cars at 8:00 PM, noting that the performances will be heard via the 98.4 FM radio frequency. Attendees must follow the parking distances specified by the organizers, and not leave their car for any purpose. Attendees must wear a mask inside the car when communicating with one of the organizers, and no more than 4 people are allowed inside any given car. The Authority stresses that attendees *do not gather after the party ends*, and to cooperate with the organizers in directing the flow of traffic, and following their rules and instructions when exiting the concert site.
The concerts will be broadcast via 98.4 FM and the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities’ official YouTube channel (CultureBah). The concerts will also be recorded and broadcast later on Bahrain TV.
During the inauguration ceremony on October 22, the Lebanese singer Abeer Nehme will voice the tales of heritage and history as she sings in ten languages, a key element to the world’s intangible heritage. Her voice will radiate from Qal’at Al-Bahrain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has overseen 5000 years of civilization, thus launching the twenty-ninth edition of the festival with a performance reflecting the cultural wealth of peoples and their heritage.
On October 23, multilingual Lebanese artist Palema Farhat’s harmonic voice will sing in seven languages including Arabic, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Armenian and Turkish. her charming stage presence and captivating voice will delight audiences.
Originally from Arles in the South of France, Mario Reyes’ talent will be showcased on October 24, blending his love for the guitar with travel. His Spaniard spirit is as unwavering in him as it is with his grandparents who had emigrated to the area he was born, descending from an ancient family of Gypsies that brought The Gipsy Kings to the world.
Fans of folkloric arts will be on a date with the Mohammed bin Faros Band on October 27, highlighting the emotive sounds of the Gulf’s unique musical culture and shedding light on the strife of divers, parting from their families and nation by the seashore, and the tunes they sang to endure their hardships along with those associated with weddings and other happy occasions.
The Suspenders jazz trio will perform along with the saxophonist Abdulla Haji. The Suspenders are composed of the Bulgarian singer and piano player Bobby Valchev, Russian bassist Alexander Vorobev and Colombian drummer German Cortez. Each member has an extensive background in the entertainment industry, their repertoire consisting of exceptional covers of popular jazz songs as well as their original compositions. From jazz to pop, the Turkish singer Barbaros Büyükakkan blends various genres and languages, offering a unique mixture of world music from pop to jazz on October 30.
In collaboration with the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Egyptian singer Rehab Metwai accompanies the Bahrain Music Band for a nostalgic performance of the most beautiful Arabic classical tunes, closing the curtains on the Bahrain International Music Festival on October 31.
Regarding the musical workshops, the public will have to pre-register for the workshops via the Culture Authority’s website www.culture.gov.bh. The workshops will be held in the Flexible Theater at the Bahrain National Theater at 6:00 PM. The workshops will start on October 25 with a workshop on Music Genres and Composition, while a workshop entitled The Role of Music in Society will be held October 26. The Introduction to Musical Instruments workshop will be held on October 27, and the workshop program ends with the Jamming and Improvisation workshop on October 28.
This year, Café Lilou returns to participate in the twenty-ninth Bahrain International Music Festival, offering an exclusive menu with a variety of delicious foods and drinks reflecting the diversity of the festival itself. The dishes are inspired by the cultures and musical styles presented, to be served throughout the festival’s duration.
For more information on the festival and its activities, please visit the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities’ website www.culture.gov.bh or follow the Culture Authority’s accounts on the social media @culturebah.