Mother of The Nation Festival: beachside musical highlights

Emirati star Mohammed Al Shehi and Kuwaiti hip-hop duo Sons of Yusuf to perform on the opening weekend of Mother of the Nation Festival

Mohamad Al Shehhi performing at New Year’s Eve Countdown Village. Courtesy The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi
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In addition to the family and cultural activities taking place as part of Mother of The Nation Festival, the annual event features a beachside main stage that will host a variety of local and regional talent. Check out the festival website for more details on timings. Here are the musical highlights of the event's opening weekend.

Mohammed Al Shehhi

Hailing from Ras Al Khaimah, the Emirati singer's Mother of The Nation Festival appearance is another milestone in a stellar 12 months. Last June, Al Shehhi took to the Dubai Opera stage with a well-received programme of original hits such as Hirati and Samti, in addition to classic regional covers of the likes of Saudi crooner Talal Maddah. New tunes will be heard on Saturday as Al Shehhi releases his latest track in time for his Abu Dhabi appearance. Titled Kharbat Ahwali, the new song continues his brand of mixing traditional Emirati tunes with modern touches such as well-produced vocals and synthesisers.


For those who didn't see the group at the Wasla Music Festival last month, then here is another chance. The five-piece is regional in that all five members hail from countries in the Middle East. Led by the soulful vocals of Alaa Wardi, the band create a tight funk sound thanks to the rhythm section of bassist Amjard Shahrour and drummer Hakam Abu Soud. While their records, such as their acclaimed debut, Ya Bey, have a straightforward rock approach, the new material from the band has a more electronic feel, helped by dance rhythms.

Sons of Yusuf

Kuwait's best-kept secret. The brothers Ya'koob and Abdul Rahmnan have built a large following in their homeland and since then have been expanding their Gulf hip-hop brand across the region. For those unconvinced by the concept, listen to tracks such as One Time and Still, and you will find two adept MCs in charge of their craft and enthused by the possibilities their collaboration throws up.

Harget Kart

Formed in 2011 in their native Jordan, the quartet are known for their feelgood tunes and celebratory sets. In addition to their love of modern Arabic pop, the band also take their cues from Latin music with flamenco and salsa styles. When that’s paired with crystalline vocals and harmonies, you will be hard-pressed not to hum along to a tune or two.


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