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Eclectic performance by critically acclaimed pianist brings the 2017 Festival Recital Series to a close with an exhilarating evening of jazz

Tarek Yamani 20th Mar 2017

Tarek Yamani Dazzles Audience with World Premiere of the Abu Dhabi Festival Commission ‘Peninsular’

Critically acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Tarek Yamani, debuted the Abu Dhabi Festival commission, ‘Peninsular: Portraits in Khaleeji Rhythms and Jazz’ with an outstanding ensemble of Arab and Emirati musicians to an enthralled audience at the closing performance of the Abu Dhabi Festival Recital Series at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi last night. Ingeniously exploring the correlation between jazz and Khaleeji traditions through complex rhythms and harmonies, Tarek Yamani moved the audience with a set of original compositions in the style he calls ‘Afro Tarab’. Commissioned for the Abu Dhabi Festival Composers’ Platform, the concert which integrated traditional rhythms including the ‘Sittati’ and ‘Ayyala’ (from the UAE) as well as ‘Arda’ (from Qatar) and ‘Arda Janubia’ (from Saudi Arabia), among many others, explored the commonalities and differences between the two diverse types of music.

Alongside the concert’s world premiere, the Abu Dhabi Festival commission also saw the worldwide release of the album ‘Peninsular’ (featuring artwork by the acclaimed Kuwaiti visual artist Mona Al Qadiri) and a seminal publication ‘The Percussion Ensemble of the Arabian Peninsular’ by Tarek Yamani and Rony Afif. 


Heralded as one of the best talents of his generation, Yamani began his career in Beirut where he discovered and fell in love with jazz. Determined to discover more about the genre, the gifted musician taught himself how to play the piano before venturing overseas for further studies, leading him to decode theoretical books and deconstruct jazz records. Tarek Yamani’s career started with pioneering Lebanese hip-hop band Aksser and writing music for dance-theatre productions by the likes of Swedish director Eva Bergman and Lebanese director Omar Rajeh. His career has seen him perform and compose in a variety of other styles including Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Flamenco, Electronic and Arabic music.


The award-winning musician added the Abu Dhabi Festival last night to his list of performances at prestigious events and venues, which have included the inaugural International Jazz Day in 2012, held at the UN headquarters in New York – an event announced by UNESCO and Abu Dhabi Festival veteran Herbie Hancock to proclaim jazz as an international language.


For further information on schedules, venues and performances please visit the Festival website Abu Dhabi Festival can also be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.