Abu Dhabi: Multitalented Lebanese performer Jahida Wehbe delighted the audience at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Thursday during the inaugural Literature and Music Festival organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.
Wehbe’s performance, Enchanting Literature, highlighted the intersections between literature and music with poetry and prose from renowned Arabic writers and poets. Accompanied by a band of musicians from the UAE, France, and Lebanon, Wehbe performed a combination of songs, texts and poems by Arab and international poets and writers, including Al Mutanabbi, Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Mahmoud Darwish, Khalil Gibran and Ahlam Mosteghanemi, as well as translations of famous literary pieces by Gunter Grass, Pablo Neruda and Federico Garcia Lorca.
A celebration of Arabic language, the festival reflects Emirati traditions and heritage while stimulating creativity and originality. Residents and visitors will get a chance to learn how music and literature are intertwined and how they can influence and inspire each other through a selection of curated performances. Visitors to the festival can also enjoy spectacular light shows depicting the beauty of Arabic language on the walls of Manarat Al Saadiyat.
Serving as a forum for artists, scholars, writers, musicians and people interested in the fusion of literature and music, the new Literature and Music Festival brings live musical performances, theatrical performances, puppet shows, oud performances, light shows, readings and recitals as part of its festivities running until Saturday.
The World Arabic Language Day, celebrated annually on December 18, was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2010 to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity. December 18 was chosen to commemorate the day when the United Nations General Assembly approved Arabic as an official UN language in 1973.
The next performance as part of the festival will be The Gift, shadow puppet theatre performances, at Umm Al Emarat Park on Saturday at 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
The Gift is perfect for families and children as it will tell the story of an elephant that was gifted to Carolingian emperor Charlemagne by the Abbasid caliph Harun Al Rashid.
All Literature and Music Festival events are free to attend and open to the public.