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Musical Contrasts in Abu Dhabi

November 2, 2012

Shangri La Hotel Abu Dhabi

Shangri La Hotel Abu Dhabi

I did not find a place to play in Abu Dhabi last night, but even if I had, the cold I – and many other journalists – got in India meant that I could not sing anyway. Total loss of voice. But that meant the perfect occasion to go out and listen to other musicians. It would turn out to be a big contrast in styles and atmospheres. The first place I went to was the massive, enormous, colossal hotel called Shangri La, where the oud player with whom I jammed the night before, was playing with his guitarist in the lobby. This was Layth Aldaene, whom I wrote about on the blog yesterday. The lobby of the Shangri La is massive too, and the music was beautiful within that environment. But it was all very much a laid back, don’t disturb anyone kind of music as the cream of the F1 crowd sat around and drank aperitifs or waited for their rendezvous of the evening.

Unfortunately it was not the best set up for recording the music with my Zoom Q3HD in a discreet manner. But I did my best.

After that I went back to my hotel, and there, I found the outdoor – tented – restaurant of the hotel with chicha pipes being smoked, snack meals or buffet being eaten, and people generally drinking fruit juices and other non-alcoholic refreshments. It was a family feel to it, a popular feel, and it was the first night of the weekend. So the live music reflected this, and as it went on it got more festive. I felt slightly intrusive filming the merriment, so I only got a few brief glimpses. But it was indeed a lively and contrasting popular moment of nightlife in Abu Dhabi, compared to the staid, laid back Shangri La opulence.

And the music itself… no comparison. After hearing the virtuoso playing of Layth Aldaene and his guitarist, the electronic drums, keyboards and other synthesized sounds of the musician and his singer at the One-to-One hotel was a little crude by comparison. But festive and fun, indeed….

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