Six UAE shows to see during Ramadan 2023, from West African blues to Arabic poetry

The Emirates will be home to a number of eclectic performances after iftar this year


Story by Nick Leech for Weekend section.

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The UAE’s music scene takes an eclectic and evocative turn during Ramadan.

With the month providing a break from DJ performances and pop concerts, the stage is set for some brilliantly diverse acts playing genres ranging from West African rock and blues to classical Arabic folk, as well as poetry readings.

Here are six performances to check out during the Ramadan.

1. Tinariwen at Cultural Palace, Sharjah

Grammy Award-winning Malian group Tinariwen are an electrifying live act.

Melding traditional Tuareg melodies from the Sahara with a visceral rock sound, they are dubbed as the leading purveyors of desert blues by fans and critics.

They will return to the UAE ahead of the release of their new album, Amatssou.

March 31. Show starts at 10pm and tickets start from Dh100 via

2. Poetry Night featuring Abdullah Qusair Al Derei & Ateeq Khalfan AlKaabi at Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi

Two of the UAE's most esteemed poets will recite verses from their own and classic Arabic poetry in what promises to be an evocative evening.

March 31. Performances start at 10pm and tickets are Dh30 from

3. Faraj Abyad at NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Centre

Oud musician Faraj Abyad returns to the UAE with his latest work.

Based on a series of love letters written between ninth century poets Ibn Zaydun and Wallada Bint Al Mustakfi, the American-Syrian composer will perform a suite of original songs melding traditional Egyptian and Syrian folk styles with a Latin flair.

April 5. Show starts at 9.15pm and tickets are Dh52.50 from

4. Youssou N’Dour at Cultural Palace, Sharjah

Named by Time magazine as one of the most 100 influential people in the world in 2007, the Senegalese Grammy Award winner scored a global hit with 1994's 7 Seconds, a duet with Swedish singer Neneh Cherry.

N'Dour will team up with Senegalese Sufi singers in Sharjah for an evening of traditional and spiritual songs from West Africa.

Thursday, April 6. Concert begins at 11pm with doors closed at 10.45pm. Tickets start from Dh100 at

5. Naseer Shamma at Louvre Abu Dhabi

As part of Louvre's Abu Dhabi's Ramadan programme, featuring everything from iftars to talks highlighting the UAE’s architectural characteristics, Iraqi oud maestro Naseer Shamma will perform a one-off concert.

The show will take place in collaboration with visual artists Nja Mahdaoui, who is best known for his kaleidoscopic calligraphy works, and is organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre.

Friday, April 7. Show starts at 10pm. Free entry with prior registration at

6. Masrah Ramadan at Music Hall Dubai, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

The venue's Ramadan programme, dubbed Masrah Ramadan, returns.

Where Music Hall Dubai normally focuses on international sounds, during Ramadan the theatre's in-house troupe of talented singers will present a show steeped in the region.

Expect to hear covers of classical Arabic music from the Levant, Egypt and North Africa backed by an ensemble known as a takht — a small orchestra made up of traditional instruments, such as the oud, the qanun, the violin and the flute.

The Masrah Ramadan at Beirut Music Hall runs every night during Ramadan from 9pm to 2am; 04 447 6646

Updated: March 26, 2023, 2:04 PM