CULTUREWHAT'S NEW

The beat goes on

The hotly anticipated Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival returns for its 18th edition with an exciting line-up 

The Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival has been making noise on the region’s music scene since its arrival back in 2003. But this year’s edition is set to make the biggest impact yet. Taking place at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre from February 26 to 28, the 18th season of the three-day festival features an eclectic line-up of acts, opening with ex-Fugees star Lauryn Hill, followed by R&B and soul legend Lionel Richie, and closing with US rockers One Republic. US singer-songwriter Hill is on her 20th anniversary world tour, celebrating the launch of her debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The album followed her split from the rap band, The Fugees, in which she shot to fame. The band racked up a string of hits, including Killing Me Softly and Fu-Gee-La. Having been on the road since last year, fans in Dubai will see the artist at her peak as she brings her biggest hits, Everything is Everything and Doo Wop, to the stage on February 26. Supported by British singer-songwriter and guitarist, Bruno Major, she will open the event on Wednesday night, paving the way for music royalty, Lionel Richie, who takes the stage on February 27. It is not Richie’s first show in the emirates. The singer, now in his 70s, first performed in Dubai in 2014 and later at the F1 Yasalam After-Race Concerts in 2016 on Yas Island.

Formerly part of the pop band, The Commodores, the singer-songwriter still makes performing seem effortless in spite of his years, which have seen an array of accolades and number ones during his career. The king of soul, Richie is still touring around the world and will be appearing this month at the Winter at Tantora festival in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula region before arriving in Dubai. Audiences can expect fan favourites, including All Night Long and Hello, on the star’s hit list for the evening. He will be supported by jazz fusion band, Spyro Gyra, veterans of the New York jazz scene since they formed back in 1974. Finally, the band behind several hits, including Counting Stars and Stop and Stare, One Republic, will close the event on February 28. With lead singer Ryan Tedder at the helm, the rockers will be supported by jazz band Sammy Miller and The Congregation. Old hands at the festival, One Republic first performed on its stage in 2013. No strangers to the emirates, they’ve become regulars on the UAE’s live music calendar, just last November closing the Dubai Airshow gala. 

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