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Press release

Bill Fontana presents the World Premiere of ‘Acoustical Visions & Desert Soundings,’ while Mohammed Kazem unveils his latest commissioned work - ‘Directions’ Emirati singer/song-writer Hamdan Al Abri joins Herbie Hancock on stage in a ground-breaking collaboration

Mohamed Kanoo, Bill Fontana, H.E. Michael Corbin, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, H.E. Hoda I. Al Khamis Kanoo and Adnan Z. Amin 23rd Mar 2014

His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan inaugurates the Abu Dhabi Festival 2014 Visual Arts Exhibition and attends the Legendary Herbie Hancock’s Gulf World Premiere

Preceding his attendance at Herbie Hancock’s first ever performance in the Arabian Gulf, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development, ADMAF Patron and President, and Abu Dhabi Festival Patron inaugurated the 2014 Festival’s Visual Arts Exhibition, organised by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), with Bill Fontana’s World Premiere ‘Acoustical Visions & Desert Soundings’ and Mohammed Kazem’s Festival commission ‘Directions.’ His Excellency was joined by H.E. Hoda I. Al Khamis - Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and the Abu Dhabi Festival; H.E. Michael Corbin, US Ambassador to the UAE, and Dr Karim Al Solh, Co-Founder and CEO of Gulf Capital for the ceremonial night. Distinguished guests and dignitaries were also joined by hundreds of Emirati students from the federal universities of Abu Dhabi, including the winners of The Gulf Capital - Abu Dhabi Festival Visual Arts Award 2014.

Recognising the United States of America as the ADF 2014 Country of Honour, the Abu Dhabi Festival 2014 was proud to present the legendary Herbie Hancock and the father of sound art, Bill Fontana.

Following the exhibition inauguration and Herbie Hancock’s performance, H.E. Hoda I. Al Khamis - Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and the Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “Each year, we work on improving and expanding our visual arts programme, and I’m really excited this year to share Bill Fontana’s ‘Acoustical Visions & Desert Soundings’ exhibition with the UAE. It is a truly unique exhibition that celebrates the historical roots and the innovative spirit of the UAE and its people. The sounds of the Abu Dhabi have never been captured in such a way before.”

“Complementing the innovation of the visual arts exhibition, we are extremely honoured to host Herbie Hancock. What an incredible spectacle of musical talent that has brought beautiful diversity to our ADF 2014 programme. An innovator of musical interpretation and modern jazz, Herbie Hancock embodies this year’s Festival theme – ‘Creative Innovation.’ His individuality and unrelenting innovation within the music industry has inspired young musicians the world over, and we’re so proud to be able to bring that inspiration to the youth of the UAE.

“To enable the collaboration between Herbie Hancock and Hamdan Al Abri, to unite two different cultures together in the spirit of music, was a great achievement at this year’s Festival. As part of a new initiative to launch, and support Emirati musicians, the Abu Dhabi Festival will continue to facilitate these kinds of collaborations with international artists in order to give greater exposure to the nation’s talent.”

Visionary jazz icon Herbie Hancock made his Gulf debut with an electrifying evening capturing a unique blend of classic and modern jazz, fusion and funk at this year’s Abu Dhabi Festival, organised by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF). Joined on stage by the dynamic Emirati singer/song-writer Hamdan Al Abri, Herbie Hancock gave the Abu Dhabi audience a special performance that proved his iconic stature as one of the greatest composers and pianists or our time.

Performance Notes:

 

In a performance full of surprises, Herbie Hancock’s genius on the acoustic piano and electric keyboard thrilled the Emirates Palace audience with an unforgettable experience that showcased the artist’s charisma and chameleon-like skill. Pulling the audience into his creative space through an exploration of new sounds and technologies, Herbie Hancock – even at the age of 73 - remains an innovator. His performance was a whirlwind of musical discovery steeped in musical history, yet pushed the boundaries of music. It was the definitive musical experience that audiences of the UAE had the incredible fortune to appreciate.

 

Herbie Hancock’s versatile and immensely original style blended perfectly with Hamdan Al Abri’s much-loved vocal skill, and combined with both artists’ interest in electronic and experimental music, added an extra flavour to the night’s performance.

 

The Abu Dhabi Festival’s 11th edition under this year’s theme ‘Creative Innovation’ is the UAE’s premiere cultural event; bringing the best in international and regional dance, opera, music, and visual arts to the Emirates each year. The Festival began on the 2nd March with its nationwide education and community programmes. Its main programme of performances by The Asil Ensemble, Herbie Hancock, Renée Fleming, Miloš Karadaglić, the American Ballet Theatre, European Union Youth Orchestra, Michel Fadel and others runs until the 31st March, with Bill Fontana’s World Premier Exhibition continuing until 20th April.