When Noel Kharman performs at Relm Fest at The Pointe in Dubai this weekend, she might not know where to look.
During the performance by the Palestinian singer of her new single Al ForgaThe Palm Fountain – whose ability to spray water up to 105 meters high has earned it the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest of its kind – will sway and twirl to the propulsive rhythm of the track’s Levantine folk.
Kharman is one of several regional singers chosen by Nakheel organizers to perform and literally cause a stir at the event, which is free to attend and runs from Friday to Sunday.
She joins Emirati soul singer Abri, Iraqi-Belgian singer Sandra Sahi, Syrian qanun player Nagham Debal and Lebanese Lea Makhoul to have their songs added to The Palm Fountain’s growing repertoire of synchronized musical performances.
And as with the preparations for the concert, the technical team behind the fountain did their own share of rehearsals to prepare for the festival.
“It was really interesting to see how they did everything and I was grateful to be involved in this process,” Kharman said. The National.
“I got to watch all the different movements of the fountain first and we built this great show to match the music.”
The technical team, which is also ordering 3,000 LED lights on site, would have a lot to do because Al Forga is a dynamic Palestinian and Jordanian folk tune intertwined with undulating percussion and Kharman’s passionate, throaty vocals.
“It’s a song that really has that Levantine vibe and the lyrics are sung with that harsh Palestinian and Jordanian accent,” Kharman says.
“It’s definitely a rhythmic and enjoyable song to create. It’s also a way to show people the different styles of music I can do.
Indeed, the five original songs that Kharman has released are a showcase of an assured artist with great potential.
Since making a big impression with a viral Adele mash-up in 2016 Hello and that of Fairouz Kaifek Inta and Luis Fonzi’s 2017 mix Despacito and that of Ahmed Al Maslawi Akhiran GalahaKharman put his own stamp on original tracks, like the majestic ballad Ann Alawan and the playful pop of Lazmni Break.
She credits the eclectic nature of her work to moving to Jordan in 2020 to study sound engineering and build her music career.
While many aspiring Arab artists flock to Cairo, Beirut and Dubai to collaborate with artists and use studios, Kharman says Amman also has a lot to offer.
“I really feel like there’s a really cool wave going on right now in Jordan,” she says. “There’s a growing number of events happening here and there’s this community of great musicians and creative people. I feel really inspired here.
Kharman hopes to continue tapping into this energy over the next 12 months.
His show at Relm Fest is just one of the few scheduled to give him time to finish two EPs in preparation.
With over a dozen songs, she wants each track to have its own unique sound and style.
“I sometimes feel like artists in the region tend to take the easy way out and stick with what works,” she says. “We definitely need to experiment more and not be afraid to show people the music we’re really into. By doing that, we can really bring our personalities to it and people will connect with it.
“From what I see here in Jordan and this new generation of artists, that is now starting to change, so I think the future is bright for the music industry in the Middle East.”
Who else is performing at Relm Fest?
Freshly earned America’s Got Talent in September, the Lebanese dance troupe will present its first regional show outside of Beirut. They won the million dollar prize, as well as the opportunity to headline a show in Las Vegas.
Mayyas first made international headlines when she received a golden buzzer from judge Sofia Vergara for her performance in the auditions, securing her place in the semi-finals. The video of the audition has nearly 20 million views on YouTube.
The Lebanese band has a devoted following across the region with their scintillating brand of Coldplay rock and poetic lyrics addressing the societal and heartfelt issues facing young Arabs today.
They return to Dubai with a solid catalog of songs, including those from their latest fifth album, 2021’s A’da.
3. Massar Egbari
The Egyptian quartet is all about the vibe, with songs that are a heady mix of different styles, from rock and jazz to blues, which are delivered through authentic oriental melodies.
More information about Relm Fest can be found at www.thepointe.ae
Updated: October 19, 2022, 9:10 a.m.