In hour 1 it was all about Indie music in the Middle East and we had a chance to listen to 4 bands.
1 - Mashrou Leila - Wa Nueid (We Repeat) (Album: Raqasuk - ‘We Made You Dance’)
Good story here - raised $66kUSD in a crowdsource activity to promote their album and tour it and do records, launches tonight in the Music Hall. They were on Bassem Youssef (Egyptian Jon Stewart).
2 - Maii & Zeid - Mesh Men Hana (I’m Not From Here)
Zeid Hamdan is no stranger to collaborations. Through his past work with Soap Kills (one of the region’s earliest indie rock bands) and a multitude of other projects he has cemented a role for himself as a musical instigator on the underground Lebanese scene. On this record, he collaborates with Egyptian singer/songwriter Maii Waleed.
Collaborations between two stand-alone artists can be tricky. Luckily, this record proves otherwise. 'Moga' beautifully intertwines the best qualities of both artists into one of the more fresh-sounding releases to come out of the region in recent times.
Think PJ Harvey or Blonde Redhead, only in Arabic! 'Moga' is probably the most accomplished “indie rock/pop” (as in the genre) when it comes to creating a unique sound attributed to the region’s indie efforts. Zeid’s genius lies in his ability to produce melodies that fuse so many elements – indie rock, new wave, electro, shoegaze – into a rather homogenous mix encapsulating Maii’s intimate vocals perfectly.
Title track 'Moga', is akin to an electronic lullaby. Waleed’s voice is simply haunting on this track, and bounces off precisely against the minimalist synth backdrop. 'Hasafer B’eed' exudes an edgier cut reminiscent of the grunge era. There is variation of styles and genres on the album, which is also packed with delicate surprises. Songs such as 'Eswad Ramadi', a gorgeous rich ballad with very catchy pop undertones and 'Warda w Nahla', a captivating, waltz-y down tempo number, which quickly transforms into an experimental electronic piece, really take center-stage and shine.
'Moga' is a completely thought-provoking record in its musical ambition and stylistic direction. A release like this only signifies another (exciting and collaborative!) triumph for the underground music scene in the region. We are definitely spinning this again and again.
3 - The Relocators - I’m Afraid of Things Like You
5 - Nikotin - Decide
Smoking is a big issue and the UAE is making it harder to buy and sell tobacco.
We asked if you are are going to give up the habit and what about youth?
Here are the show notes.
Are you a smoker, a friend or a family member a smoker? What will it take to get people to butt out?
-how do you discourage people?
-how did you quit
Residents in the emirate – both smokers and non-smokers — have welcomed the passing of the anti-tobacco law but some feel the January enforcement is too long.
“This is very good news... but they need to do it as soon as possible,” said Farida Ahmad Siddiqui, from Canada. The social activist was the 2007 recipient of the Abu Dhabi Awards.
Farida Ahmad Siddiqui
The 65-year old is a vocal supporter of non-smoking and has been campaigning for years about its bad effects especially at schools.
She said that in her residence area in Khalidiya, she often sees group of teenagers smoking while sitting on the footpath “hiding behind cars”.
“The grocery shops around the corner, they should not sell cigarettes at all,” she stressed.
She said that on many occasions, she complained to the municipality about smoking in one of the nearby coffee shops but nothing has been done about it.
“It is a very small coffee shop and they are blowing smoke to the poor waitresses,” she pointed out.
To make enforcement effective, she suggested having plainclothes officials to patrol areas “to catch” and issue fines. Norman Manalo from the Philippines, a smoker, also said that the six-month wait enforcement is a long time as this further prolongs the problem of smoking in public.
“They’ve already passed the law, why wait?” he asked.
He said he smokes in public because nothing deters him yet, however, he was hopeful that with the anti-tobacco law, he would be compelled to limit and eventually quit the habit.
“In Mussafah, I see guys smoking in public and they leave the cigarette butts where they sit and smoke. It would be ideal if there is a smoking facility, like a booth, erected in public places,” Manalo said.
The anti-tobacco law, which was approved by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in the Cabinet’s Resolution No. 24 issued on July 21, covers the sale and usage of cigarettes. It will come into effect six months from the date of issuance.
The law bans smoking in vehicles if a child younger than 12 years is present, any content that advertises tobacco products, importation of tobacco products that are not in line with technical standards set by the UAE and forbids growing or producing tobacco for commercial purposes. Current manufacturing plants were given a 10-year grace period while tobacco farms two years to abide by the law.
The law also aims to reduce smoking among youth. According to the law, tobacco products cannot be displayed near items marketed for children or sportswear, health, food and electronic products. Tobacco products are also forbidden to be sold within 100 metres of places of worship, and 15 metres of kindergartens, schools, universities and colleges.
Shisha cafes will also have to be at least 150 metres away from residential areas and should operate from 10am to 12pm. Shishas will not be served to customers younger than 18 years, and the cafes will be forbidden from delivering shishas to apartments.
The law also provides specifications on the packaging of tobacco products with a large warning label on the front to raise awareness on the dangers of tobacco.
Violators will be fined Dh100,000 to Dh1 million, and the fines can be doubled if the offence is repeated.
“The regulations are part of the government’s efforts to establish an effective national anti-tobacco strategy to protect public health,” state news agency Wam reported on Tuesday. “I definitely support this. Any adult should not smoke when their child is in the car,” said Maetaze Agha, a marketing manager from the US.
He said more campaigns should be carried out about the dangers of smoking to one’s health in order to influence smokers to quit.
He suggested feature shows screened at malls during the weekend, as well as, the use of broadcast media.
Janna Berezikova has stopped smoking two months ago and commended the resolution on smoking. “I have been smoking for a very long time and I said enough. This is affecting my body, face, skin and health. I realised when I stopped that I feel much better than before.”
The sales consultant from Russia admitted she has never liked the smell of smoke even when she was smoking.
According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco use remains a major cause of many of the world’s top killer diseases, including cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer. In total, tobacco use is responsible for the death of about one in 10 adults worldwide. Smoking is often the hidden cause of the disease recorded as responsible for death.