Abu Dhabi Book Fair: Making music from Al Mutanabbi’s poetry

Legendary 10th-century Arabic poet named 'focus personality" of the year at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

The poet Abu Al Tayeb Al Mutanabbi
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Ancient Arabic poems by the 10th-century poet Abu Al Tayeb Al Mutanabbi will be set to music for the first time at the 24th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair next month, organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.

The concert, Al Mutanabbi – Forever A Traveller will open the book fair, which has chosen the poet as its “focus personality” this year.

“Concertgoers will be taken on a poetic musical journey to the places that Al Mutanabbi had visited in his quest to become a just price,” says Saeed Hamdan, a member of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair committee. This performance blends traditional music from those places along with his poems which incorporate pride, glory and love.”

The Lebanese singer Abeer Nehme will lend her voice to selected poems representing Al Mutanabbi’s travels to Iraq, Aleppo, Lebanon and Egypt. Nehme, who composes folk-based music and can sing in 20 languages, will also be performing the translated versions of the poet’s works in English, French and German, while the Lebanese actor Jihad Al Andari will recite some of the poems.

An art exhibition inspired by Al Mutanabbi’s poetry and personality will see prominent artists presenting their interpretations of the poet’s works.

• Al Mutanabbi – Forever A Traveller is at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from April 30 to May 5

aahmed@thenational.ae