Mayssa Karaa at Emirates Palace. Christopher Pike / The National
Mayssa Karaa at Emirates Palace. Christopher Pike / The National

Mayssa Karaa’s future is fusion-powered

After a month of delicate strings and intricate orchestral performances, the Abu Dhabi Festival rocked the house as it concluded on Thursday.

Young Lebanese starlet Mayssa Karaa made all the right noises as she premiered her new concept show, When Music Matters. Split across seven sections, the concert went a long way in clearing up a few lingering preconceptions.

The first of these was the notion that “taking an audience on a journey” is a groan-inducing prospect – this was indeed a journey of discovery wrapped up in an enjoyable, well-paced show.

It began with classic songs from the Levant before travelling to the western Mediterranean with some flamenco sounds. Finally both elements came together to receive a full-bodied rock-music treatment.

Such combinations could have fallen prey to overreaching ambition, but they were held together thanks to Karaa’s eclectic vocal talents and an all-star band that included members of the New York Arabic Orchestra and musicians who have played with a who’s who of the music world, including Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.

The only downside to the show's pioneering approach was that the audience were a bit slow to catch on at times. In a region where certain Arab artists are almost sacred, some of the crowd baulked at hearing Fairouz's Bi Karm el Loulou and Dalida's Helwa Ya Baladi mixed with flamenco rock by guest artist Marcus Nand.

But after a few hard stares at the beginning, both tracks eventually won the crowd over, thanks in no small part to Nand’s evocative guitar work. He gave the elegant and, let’s face it, sometimes dainty original orchestral compositions a welcome sensuality.

In Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit, the passion was strictly Karaa's alone. Featured prominently on the soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning film American Hustle, the song was Karaa's calling card to the world. Her smouldering Arabic delivery for the first half of the song, as it appeared in the film, recalled Nancy Sinatra's Bang Bang, before she switched to the original English language in a raging delivery that the original singer Grace Slick would surely have approved of.

Bob Seger's Turn the Page, also sung mostly in Arabic, sounded effortless, the chief reason being that the 1972 ballad was composed in minor keys that were well within the palette of Arab music. It's a realisation that should provide welcome encouragement to other aspiring Arab artists in the audience, which is precisely the point of the whole affair.

The audience was also treated to the first live rendition of a couple of Karaa solo tracks from her upcoming album.

While the soaring power ballad Over Again was well delivered, worryingly it lacked the freshness and ingenuity that have increasingly become a hallmark of her sound.

This returned with the second debut track, Stop Me Going in Circles, which was a skilful mash-up of Arabic melodies and a delicious blues riff.

The track served as a welcome example of musical fusion, preconceptions about which Karaa successfully challenged in her show. Fusion has been long derided – in some cases rightly so – for being lazy, bland stuff best listened to in coffee shops; Karaa and her band gave the audience the welcome opportunity to hear it executed well.

When this is the case, as it was for most of the concert, the music often transcended the barriers, to prove good art can be appreciated by all.

With such a vision, Karaa’s future career looks bright.


Friday Athletic Bilbao v Celta Vigo (Kick-off midnight UAE)

Saturday Levante v Getafe (5pm), Sevilla v Real Madrid (7.15pm), Atletico Madrid v Real Valladolid (9.30pm), Cadiz v Barcelona (midnight)

Sunday Granada v Huesca (5pm), Osasuna v Real Betis (7.15pm), Villarreal v Elche (9.30pm), Alaves v Real Sociedad (midnight)

Monday Eibar v Valencia (midnight)

Gulf Under 19s final

Dubai College A 50-12 Dubai College B



Emirates Cricket Board Women’s T10

ECB Hawks v ECB Falcons

Monday, April 6, 7.30pm, Sharjah Cricket Stadium

The match will be broadcast live on the My Sports Eye Facebook page



Coach: Chaitrali Kalgutkar

Squad: Chaya Mughal (captain), Archara Supriya, Chamani Senevirathne, Chathurika Anand, Geethika Jyothis, Indhuja Nandakumar, Kashish Loungani, Khushi Sharma, Khushi Tanwar, Rinitha Rajith, Siddhi Pagarani, Siya Gokhale, Subha Srinivasan, Suraksha Kotte, Theertha Satish



Coach: Najeeb Amar

Squad: Kavisha Kumari (captain), Almaseera Jahangir, Annika Shivpuri, Archisha Mukherjee, Judit Cleetus, Ishani Senavirathne, Lavanya Keny, Mahika Gaur, Malavika Unnithan, Rishitha Rajith, Rithika Rajith, Samaira Dharnidharka, Shashini Kaluarachchi, Udeni Kuruppuarachchi, Vaishnave Mahesh



Zayed Centre for Research

The Zayed Centre for Research is a partnership between Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and was made possible thanks to a generous £60 million gift in 2014 from Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation.


UAE group fixtures (all in St Kitts)
Saturday 15 January: v Canada
Thursday 20 January: v England
Saturday 22 January: v Bangladesh

UAE squad
Alishan Sharafu (captain), Shival Bawa, Jash Giyanani, Sailles Jaishankar, Nilansh Keswani, Aayan Khan, Punya Mehra, Ali Naseer, Ronak Panoly, Dhruv Parashar, Vinayak Raghavan, Soorya Sathish, Aryansh Sharma, Adithya Shetty, Kai Smith


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

10 tips for entry-level job seekers
  • Have an up-to-date, professional LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, set one up today. Avoid poor-quality profile pictures with distracting backgrounds. Include a professional summary and begin to grow your network.
  • Keep track of the job trends in your sector through the news. Apply for job alerts at your dream organisations and the types of jobs you want – LinkedIn uses AI to share similar relevant jobs based on your selections.
  • Double check that you’ve highlighted relevant skills on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
  • For most entry-level jobs, your resume will first be filtered by an applicant tracking system for keywords. Look closely at the description of the job you are applying for and mirror the language as much as possible (while being honest and accurate about your skills and experience).
  • Keep your CV professional and in a simple format – make sure you tailor your cover letter and application to the company and role.
  • Go online and look for details on job specifications for your target position. Make a list of skills required and set yourself some learning goals to tick off all the necessary skills one by one.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach outside your immediate friends and family to other acquaintances and let them know you are looking for new opportunities.
  • Make sure you’ve set your LinkedIn profile to signal that you are “open to opportunities”. Also be sure to use LinkedIn to search for people who are still actively hiring by searching for those that have the headline “I’m hiring” or “We’re hiring” in their profile.
  • Prepare for online interviews using mock interview tools. Even before landing interviews, it can be useful to start practising.
  • Be professional and patient. Always be professional with whoever you are interacting with throughout your search process, this will be remembered. You need to be patient, dedicated and not give up on your search. Candidates need to make sure they are following up appropriately for roles they have applied.

Arda Atalay, head of Mena private sector at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Rudy Bier, managing partner of Kinetic Business Solutions and Ben Kinerman Daltrey, co-founder of KinFitz


Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

The specs: 2018 Volkswagen Teramont

Price, base / as tested Dh137,000 / Dh189,950

Engine 3.6-litre V6

Gearbox Eight-speed automatic

Power 280hp @ 6,200rpm

Torque 360Nm @ 2,750rpm

Fuel economy, combined 11.7L / 100km

Masters of the Air

Directors: Cary Joji Fukunaga, Dee Rees, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Tim Van Patten

Starring: Austin Butler, Callum Turner, Anthony Boyle, Barry Keoghan, Sawyer Spielberg

Rating: 2/5

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