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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Damian Marley's Appearance at WOMAD, Abu Dhabi Cancelled

ABU DHABI — For reggae lovers, the closing of WOMAD Abu Dhabi was somewhat disappointing.

Damian Marley, the youngest son of the legendary Bob Marley, who made a name for himself by fusing hisJamaican musical roots, particularly reggae, with alternative and contemporary music styles, cancelled his performance in Abu Dhabi.
“Until an hour ago we kept trying to bring him over, but he could not make it. He said he felt sick,” Abdullah Al Ameri, director of Culture and Arts at Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, organiser of the three-day WOMAD festival here.
“We are not going to replace his concert with another group,” he pointed out. The organiser did add another group to the performances though, which was not in the original programme — Takht, a new Emirati band with one task in mind: spicing up Emirati traditional music with contemporary, jazz and even other ethnic styles.
On Friday night, Abri, another UAE band, opened the evening on the Abu Dhabi Corniche with a soulful blend of R&B, jazz and even some Arabic notes.

Immediately after, Rango (Egypt/Sudan) changed the tempo and the mood with what seemed at first a messy mix of instruments and voices. The musical “dialogues” though, punctuated by rhythmic drums soon made sense and even got people dancing!
The big star of the night, though, was Rachid Taha, the Algerian French, a master of turning Rai into Rockand vice-versa.
Black hat and black glasses on, roughly fitting white shirt, Taha made his stage appearance in the deafening screams of the crowds, now in their thousands. As his fame precedes him, Taha proved indeed to be a great performer, his rough, powerful voice well suited to his ‘cool’ stage attitude.
Making the transition from Yahabibi to Yahababy, Taha’s music got, once again, the crowds, especially from the north African community, screaming, jumping and dancing.


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