The budding local music, art and culture community is about to embark on a new journey (a notch higher) spearheaded by the visionary Emirati soul singer Arqam Al Abri. The UAE is one of the most futuristic, forward-thinking and cosmopolitan cities in the world. With this in mind, an initiative was born to find opportunities to celebrate diversity through music and other disciplines. musivv reached out to Arqam to tell us more about 'ROOTS.'
How are you?
I'm good alhamdulillah, can’t complain!
Tell us about the process leading up to the inception of ROOTS.
I grew up in the UAE and unfortunately or fortunately I got into music late. But growing up here I always felt there was a massive void. We are blessed with so many artists from all over the world based in this country. But there was nowhere for them to come together and collaborate or just express themselves. ROOTS is a weekly event, creating a space where artists can come and express themselves and collab with artists from other disciplines. Musicians collaborating with each other but also with other art disciplines. This is a home for us by us. Thankfully the Warehouse Lounge at Le Meridien Garhoud has given us the top floor to materialize this concept.
ROOTS is a weekly event, creating a space where artists can come and express themselves
ROOTS for me is about going back to why we decided to be artists, going back to your roots as it were. It also touches on the idea that every artist, no matter where they are from, is a part of this county. Whether you are from as far away as New Zealand or as nearby as India or the GCC this is where we decided to build our roots. The venue also has a big part to play with this, and we are based in old Dubai as it were - Warehouse, Le Meridien, Garhoud. I want people to come back to where it all started.
How do you see this initiative influencing the community?
There are two things that I hope come out from this, through collaborations I hope we create unique and beautiful things that will show the world who we are. Secondly, it is very important for us to be able to sustain ourselves as artists. ROOTS looks at not only helping the art scene work as an ecosystem but also providing revenue streams for the various art disciplines. Musicians that perform on stage will be paid, unfortunately, we can’t afford a lot but we want to make sure we compensate them. Local-based jewelry makers, designers, craftsmen, painters can come and display their art FREE of cost. Lord knows artists can use all the help they can get, this platform looks at trying to support where we can.
What makes roots unique compared to existing initiatives?
The get-together ahead of the actual event was better than I could have hoped for! We had more people come down than I expected. Got to show them the venue as well as walk through areas where they can see themselves using. I am very aware that this is going to be built over a duration of time, and this is going to be built with input from the entire community. For us. By us. It's been an amazing experience and I've had some beautiful individuals help to shape it into being. Sukstam Sara, Ali, Abeer, DJ Bonanza, TBazz and DJ Sara G.
The weekly series of events to further expand the developing community of music, art, fashion and dance will commence this Friday the 18th of February 2022. For more details follow ROOTS (@rootsartsme).
HOMEGROWN is musivv’s segment dedicated to featuring Emirati artists. Features under this segment are eligible for a nomination under this category on The musivv Awards (TMAs) annual recognition.