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Musical entrepreneur and author Ali Al Saeed, who is the founder of Museland, has been staging a series of concerts and conferences over late – “to create and sustain a more engaged music community as well as to share the joy and thrill of discovering and experiencing new as well as original music”.
One of his latest events, which will start tomorrow and runs until Saturday, will allow the kingdom’s aspiring artists and local musicians a chance to learn and grow through Ali’s latest convention entitled Sound & Fiction.
The conference-type event will include talks, panels, workshops, film screenings, community activities and live performances at Bait Alsalmaniya and Alliance Francaise.
“The way we consume music has changed dramatically over the years, but it seems the more options we have to reach it, the more it becomes limited,” said Ali, conference director and founder. “Both musicians and listeners find themselves easily falling into their own comfort zone. Sometimes being disruptive is the way to push things forward again.
“Having been involved in the music scene over the past few years, I came to the realisation that there is a lack of an alternative narrative. There seems to be an over-commercialisation of music in Bahrain and across the region, which is natural to an extent.
“However, that tends to come at the expense of grassroots communities, originality and new voices that challenge the status quo within the music scene.
“I wanted to create an environment that brings together like-minded people, people I’ve worked with, met and know about, who I admire and respect and individuals and artists. In order to engage with each other, discuss relevant topics, exchange ideas, and network.
“More importantly, I hope for Sound & Fiction to become a place for people - both musicians and music lovers - to experience that art medium in new and challenging ways. To discover and learn more.”
The line-up includes the likes of Hasan Hujairi, who is programme curator, a composer, sound artist, and independent researcher who divides his time between his native Bahrain and South Korea. His sound art performances and installations build on his academic interest in Historiography and Ethnomusicology, which he presented in different venues in Seoul, Tokyo, London, Glasgow, Amsterdam, New York, Beirut, and Bahrain. Hasan participated in art residencies in the Korean National University of Arts in Seoul, in STEIM in Amsterdam and the Red Bull Music Academy in London) for his activity in Sound Art and Music Composition.
Among other participants are US artist Christopher the Conquered, who has traveled North America and Europe for more than 10 years sharing his self-proclaimed “interstellar soul” music with his piano, Bahrain’s creative eclectic music duo Arabstract, Paxico Records founder Chris Hudd, Kuwaiti psychedelic rock outfit Galaxy Juice, Saudi DJ and producer Spceboi, Bahraini DJ, self-taught guitar and bass player Wadeeah Al Meshkhas, electric DJ Kayan and more.
The various panels and talks will cover a wide range of topics such as the current state of the music scene in the region, the importance of community building, developing your original voice as an artist, women in music and the rise of Arab hip-hop/rap.
Ali said: “Artists have the power to shape their own vision, their own culture, their own sound. It’s about taking that power back and reclaiming the scene.
“For the performances, Thursday night will feature band live performances including Arabstract, Offtrack and Aveora, and on Friday night the focus is on electronic music featuring performers Kayan, Hasan Hujairi, Na Der and PapaPush. On Saturday, we’ll have a singer-songwriter session with the likes of Christopher the Conquered, We Speak in Colours and Faisal Amin.
“Sound+Fiction is an extension of what we’re trying to do and what we believe in. I hope it becomes another stepping stone towards establishing a more relevant and current music scene that challenges our understanding of music and that reflects our cultural realities.”
All events and activities will be open to the public and free to attend.