Once again transcending the monolith of a music festival, the third edition of Sound + Fiction is set to kick off today, with a special project honouring the heritage of pearl diving music.
Supported by the US Embassy, the musical symposium conceptualised by Bahraini musical platform Museland started off in its current format in 2019, and was conducted virtually last year.
This year, it will start today and run until December 4.
“It’s a continuation of the concept, with more live performances, talks, panels and workshops focused on exploring alternative music,” Ali Al Saeed, founder and creative director of Museland, told GulfWeekly.
“There are about 40 artists, speakers and panellists taking part in this year’s event, coming from Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the USA.”
The festival kicks off this evening at 7pm at the Beanboat-Tasjeelat facility within Andalus Garden in Gudaibiya, featuring Nahma: A Gulf Polyphony presented by the FLEE Project.
The project aims to honour the memory of valiant pearl divers, their culture and their music with a ‘transmedia’ showcase.
Tomorrow evening, there is a short film screening at the same location, followed by a Noisy Neigbours music session at Alliance Francaise in Isa Town, starting at 8pm.
“The objective of Sound + Fiction is to challenge musicians and music lovers to explore new ways to create and experience it,” added Ali, who is organising the event with programme curator Hasan Hujairi.
“It’s about pushing boundaries and promoting a more diverse and eclectic approach to music. For years, I felt music has gotten static, and there needs to be a new wave of fresh voices that break the currents standards and trends.”
Friday and Saturday promise a full day of talks, discussion panels and musical showcases, taking place at Wagalag dog park in Saar.
The MuseNight festival will take place on Friday evening at 5pm, with performers including Majaz, Arabstract, JWA, The Relocators and Aveora taking the stage.
On Saturday night at 5pm, performers including Conference of Birds, Morjune and Merake, Str8up Rkls and Gofer will serenade music lovers.
Among the panels and talks this weekend is a discussion about reclaiming the narrative around Arab alternative music, reflections on the creative process and a panel discussing what goes into building a music scene.
On Monday, November 29, the symposium will check in with music ecosystem players in Bahrain and talk about how the pandemic has affected musicians and live performers.
Next Thursday, December 2, Bahraini singer songwriter Ala Ghawas will delve into the intricacies of creating his latest album, the first recorded fully in his mother-language, Arabic, in an intimate, honest conversation with one of the country’s most celebrated composers Mohamed Haddad.
Next weekend, December 3 – 4, will also see music showcases featuring Ahmed Zainal, Na Der, Spceboi, Rashed Aldaen and PapaPush, as well as a number of workshops. There will also be a live performance by Project XO.
“We are looking forward to being back and engaging with both the artists and audiences, creating a community atmosphere,” Ali added.
All the events are free and open to the public, but due to limited capacity, some events might require pre-registration.