NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center - Performances in February 2017

The new season of performances at the NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center is upon us. The line up in February is packed with a wide range of musicians and singers, there is something for everyone. The new season will also see the opening of the Red Box Theatre which I am looking forward to. 

All the events are free to attend, but you must book tickets online in advance. Click on each title below for more information.  

Bang on a Can All-Stars
Date: Thursday, 2nd February at 8.00pm
Venue: Red Theater at NYUAD Arts Center

A new definition of concert music. Join us in the Red Theater for the world premiere of Wahat al Karamah by Mohammed Fairouz. Awarded Musical America’s Ensemble of the year and freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music. New York’s electric chamber ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking

Steel Hammer
Date: Thursday, 9th February at 2.00pm & 8.00pm
Venue: Red Theater at NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

The legend of John Henry, deeply rooted in Appalachian folklore surrounding the construction of the American railroad, has existed in many variations and forms – from illustration to tall tale, political polemic to popular song. Steel Hammer, the latest collaboration from composer Julia Wolfe, SITI Company, and Bang on a Can All-Stars, creatively explores the subject of human vs. machine and the cost of hard labor on the human body and soul. 

Based on hearsay and recollection, and culling from vibrant American oral traditions, Steel Hammer incorporates lyrics and music by Julia Wolfe and text from four remarkable American playwrights—Kia Corthron, Will Power, Carl Hancock Rux, and Regina Taylor. Directed by Anne Bogart, performers take on wooden bones, mountain dulcimer, step dancing, and more as they explore the human impulse to tell stories and this quintessential American tale. 

Barzakh Festival - Day 1: Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa, Noura Mint Seymali
Date: Thursday, 16th February at 7:30pm
Venue: East Plaza at NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center

Aziz Sahmaoui brings together his musical passions — gnawa, rock and jazz— in a globe-trotting collaboration with high-flying Senegalese experimentalists with special guest Naissam Jalal. Led by composer, poet, and guembri player Samhaoui, a co-founding member of the influential Orchestre National de Barbes (ONB) and alumnus of Joe Zawinul’s Syndicate, University of Gnawa brings together gnawa roots, unstoppable choruses and emotional flights of improvisation, supporting richly layered poetic lyrics. Aziz’s bewitching voice, adept at alternating between the inflections of a bluesman, a muezzin, and a crooner, pulls us inexorably into his poetic universe where any bitterness of the day to day melts away into a jubilatory energy. 

Noura Mint Seymali is the Islamic Republic of Mauritania’s defining artist on the international stage. Drawing deep on the timeless repertoire of the Moorish griots, a hereditary class of musical poet/historians, her band conjures. “a full blown sandstorm of hypnotic grooves, melding traditional Mauritanian instruments, like the ardine and tidinite, within an electrified psychedelic rock band.” – The Quietus(UK). 

Barzakh Festival - Day 2: DakhaBrakha, Dengue Fever, Red Baraat
Date: Friday, February 17 at 6.00pm
Venue: East Plaza at NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Center   

Ukrainian “ethno chaos” band DakhaBrakha craft stunning new sonic worlds for traditional songs, reinventing their heritage with a keen ear for contemporary resonances. With one foot in the urban avant-garde and the other foot in Ukrainian village culture, DakhaBrakha shows the full fury and sensuality of some of Eastern Europe’s most breathtaking folklore. 

“Before it was partly Cambodian and partly indie rock…Now it’s 100 percent both.” Widely recognized for their trademark blend of 60’s Cambodian pop, garage and psychedelic rock, Dengue Fever’s have cross-pollinated their musical palette even further to include Khmer rap, Latin grooves, Afro percussion, layered Stax-like horns and more. 

Famously dubbed “The best party band in years” by NPR, Red Baraat is a pioneering eight-piece band from Brooklyn, New York. Conceived by dhol player Sunny Jain, the group has drawn worldwide praise for its singular sound — a merging of hard driving North Indian Bhangra with elements of go-go, rock and jazz — fueled by 3 master rhythm makers, the muscle of horns, a raucous guitar and a booming sousaphone.  

Trisha Brown: In Plain Site
Date: Friday 24th and Saturday 25th February at 11.00am and 4.00pm
Venue: Black Box at NYUAD Arts Center and various plazas around the NYUAD campus

Photo credits: Kat Schleicher

Photo credits: Kat Schleicher

This site specific program illuminates Trisha Brown’s fifty years of dances, recombining earlier works to be performed in unexpected locations. 

Trisha Brown Dance Company’s new performance program, allows Brown’s dances to be freed from the constrictions of the conventional stage and to be once again performed in unexpected locations. But unlike her previous site-specific adventures, Trisha Brown: In Plain Site mines and then recombines material from her vast repertory to accommodate the unique spatial demands of the particular venue. 

Note: This performance begins in the Black Box and then will travel to various non-seated locations throughout the campus. All performances will be followed by Q&A’s with the artists.

Come early for pre-show artist talks at 10.00am and 3.00pm.