Khalil and Bedouin Folk MusicSome of the traditional music of Dubai includes Khalil music and Bedouin folk music. Khalil music involves playing of the classical tabla or the drum. In Bedouin folk music, the songs are based on poetry. It may or may not require the playing of musical instruments which traditionally included the rebab and the woodwinds. This music is the native of the Bedouin nomads belonging to different places such as Sudan, Arabian Peninsula and the Levant.
Musical Instruments Used in Traditional MusicMusical instruments play a vital role when it comes to the music of Dubai. The tools commonly used here are tambourines, drums, rababah, tambura, oud and nay.
1. Tambourines are plastic or wooden frames holding multiple pair of zills which creates music when shaken.
2. Drums are well known; they generate sounds when the drumhead is tapped by the player’s hands or the drum sticks.
3. Rababah which is also known as rebab, rabab, and rababa, is a bowed string instrument with spiked bottom to help it rest on the ground when played and thus also called spike fiddle.
4. Tambura is a long-necked stringed instrument with doubled steel strings.
5. Oud is a stringed instrument with a short neck consisting of eleven or thirteen strings.
6. Ney or Nay is a hollow cylindrical instrument with keyholes, basically an end-blown flute.
Traditional Music and Folk DancesClassical music, here, is usually accompanied by folk dances, most common ones are Haban, Liwa, or Ayyalah while others include Harbiya and Mated.
1. Haban: Sometimes known by the names Khamiri and Khayali, it is a wedding dance. It comprises of three groups, while two groups include eight males and females each, the third group consists of around ten artists. While the musicians play, the first two group members dance rhythmically.
2. Liwa: Also known as Leiwah and Leywah, it is a folk dance that is being carried out on special occasions and weddings. It includes around ten dancers and musicians, playing a pipeline flute called Mizmar and three drums named Jabwah, Jasser, and Shindo, and dancing on the battle theme reflecting its African roots.
3. Ayyalah: It involves a minimum of 25 males who stand in two rows facing each other, carrying arms and singing their lines as if challenging the other. The entire scenario depicts that of a battle in which, finally, the opponents win, and the celebration takes place. Ayala is a musical act includes playing of Al-Ras, a huge drum and Takhamir, three small drums.
Live Music of Dubai & Top VenuesIf you are in Dubai and seek places where you can listen to some traditional music, here are the five venues.
1. Al HadeerahAn Arabic themed restaurant, this place makes Arabia alive in front of you. Live Arabian music is being played here live along with dance performances. You can enjoy all this along with delicious middle eastern cuisine which this place offers, made in the ancient style. It also hosts equestrian, and camel shows, making it a thorough Arabic experience.
Address: Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Al Qudra Road
Open Hours: 7 P.M. to 11:30 P.M.
2. Al KhaimaIf you are looking for a beachside place where you can have dinner and enjoy some good local traditional music, then this is the place to be. Here, you can listen to an Arabic band live from Tuesday to Friday, 8:15 P.M. to 12 A.M. It also hosts live belly dance and tanoura dance performances which you can see while enjoying the great middle eastern dishes that it offers. This is a nice place to enjoy the soulful music of Dubai.
Address: Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, Al Mamsha Street
Open Hours: 7 P.M. to 12 A.M.
3. Castello Restaurant and CaféPresent at two locations in Dubai, Castello restaurant and café offers peaceful ambience to its visitors. If you love listening to unplugged music, then you will enjoy being here. Along with multiple cuisines to select from for your lunch or dinner, it hosts live music sessions which portray Dubai music at its best.
Address 1: Behind Jumeirah Plaza, Jumeirah Beach Road
Open Hours: 11 A.M. to 2 A.M.
Address 2: Mazaya Centre, 164 Sheikh Zayed Rd
Open Hours: 10 A.M. to 2:30 A.M.
4. Ayamna RestaurantOpened a few years back, this restaurant situated in The Palm Atlantis has live music performances, belly dances, etc. to keep the visitors entertained and bring to life the “good old days” after which this restaurant has been named. It is a Lebanese restaurant which has specially selected dishes on the menu which will make you come back more for the iconic traditional music of Dubai.
Address: Crescent Road, The Palm Atlantis, The Palm
Open Hours: 7 P.M. to 11 P.M.
5. Awtar RestaurantOnce you enter this restaurant, your Arabian night experience begins. From the ambience to food to music, everything will give you a genuinely Arabic experience. Here, you can either choose to sit inside the tent or the terrace and enjoy the surprises that it has in store for you. You will get to listen to the Arabic singers voicing soulful songs and the mesmerising belly dancers dancing on the Arabic tunes.
Address: Grand Hyatt Dubai, Lobby level, Sheikh Rashid Road, Dubai Healthcare CityAlthough with changing times and crowd, this city too has different musical offerings today from around the world, these places are proof that traditional music is still very much alive amidst this evolving city. Do visit these restaurants to listen to some soulful classical music of Dubai.
Open Hours: 7:30 P.M. to 3 A.M.