In advance of UAE National Day The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi announces the artist line-up for the third annual Hekayah | The Story, a celebration of culture and heritage through music and poetry.


In celebration of the 46th UAE National Day artists from diverse backgrounds come together to express what heritage means to them, their families, and their culture.

Abu Dhabi, November 21, 2017:  Another exciting lineup has been curated by The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and friends, as a diverse array of UAE based artists get ready for Hekayah | The Story, on Tuesday, December 5.   

Hekayah | The Story is a night in which UAE based artists explore their culture and heritages, through a variety of artistic mediums; guests can expect to see poetry, spoken word, oud, tabla, saxophone and even electronics. This free event will take place at The East Plaza, where visitors can relax on the majlis or in standard seating. Audiences canenjoy a selection of food and beverages throughout the night from a food truck or explore the wares of local craft and fragrance vendors.

The lineup of  12 performances, curated to  honor UAE National Day, were selected through a collaborative process by Shamma al Bastaki – poet/NYUAD student; Mohamed Alhashimi – poet/presenter; visual artist and curatorZari Jarfri; Dorian Paul Rogers – the impresario behind Rooftop Rhythms, the UAE’s longest running poetry and spoken word open mic night; Deepak Unnikrishnan, author and NYUAD faculty; and Bill Bragin, executive artistic director at The Arts Center at NYUAD. Bill said: “We’re very excited to share this diverse line-up of locally based talents. The line-up represents the results of a collaborative curatorial process designed to expand the scope of artists appearing on our stages. The artists represent a cross-section of the UAE, multiple genres, styles and cultural backgrounds, but all sharing a common thread: a celebration for the unique community the United Arab Emirates has built, and the ongoing legacy of the nation’s founder, Sheikh Zayed.”

The lineup for the 3rd annual Hekayah | The Story:

  1. Amal – Classical Arabic Poet
  2. Sarathy Korwar – Tabla in collaboration with Shirine Tohamy – Oud, and Jaysus Zain – spoken word
  3. Ehrlich Ross Abuan – Poet
  4. Jennah Fakhouri – Spoken Word
  5. Mahwash Rehman – Poet6. Hiralal Sangar – Vocalist
  6. Reem Almenhali – Poet
  7. Jorge monterrosa – Poet
  8. Mohamed Morshed – Saxophonist
  9. Nabiha Nahyan – Poet
  10. Sara Al Souqi – Poet NOON – Arabic fusion  band

A separate artist list has been sent with this press release, giving you detailed bios of each artist who will be performing on the night.

Tickets are available now. For more information please visit:

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Hekayah | The Story artist list and bios

Amal – Classic Arabic poet
An Emirati poet born and raised in Sharjah, studied Arabic literature in University of Sharjah, currently working in government communication, preparing to publish her first poetry collection soon.

Sarathy Korwar – Tabla in collaboration with Shirine Tohamy – Oud, and Jaysus Zain – spoken word
Born in the US, Sarathy Korwar grew up in Ahmedabad and Chennai in India. He began playing tabla aged 10 but was drawn to the American music that he heard on the radio.

At 17 Sarathy studied tabla under the tutelage of Rajeev Devasthali, translating his skills to the Western drum kit and playing as a session musician. He then moved to London, where he trained as a classical tabla player under the guidance of Sanju Sahai and graduated with a MMus in Performance from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies).

In 2015 Sarathy was awarded the Steve Reid Innovation Award to make his debut album. The award included a talent development bursary from PRS Foundation and mentoring from the Steve Reid Foundation’s trustees: Four Tet, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson, Koreless, and Nick Woodmansey (Emanative). His debut album Day To Day fuses traditional folk music of the Sidi community in India (combining East African, Sufi, and Indian influences) with jazz and electronics.

Ehrlich Ross Abuan – Poet
An emerging writer, Ehrlich writes poems and uses poetry as a medium to tell stories, navigate through emotions and discover meanings. He lives in Abu Dhabi, a full-time nurse and writes in his spare time.In 2016, he started sharing his poems in open mic events and eventually became a regular on the open mic scene both as a participant and an audience.After a year performing, he was recognized as “Best Writer-2017” by Rooftop Rhythms and performed spoken word poetry in events such as SIKKA arts festival in Dubai.He is currently a resident poet and writer for ECHOES Abu Dhabi – a poetry platform for emerging poets to share and improve their art- and was their featured artist for July where he performed some of his spoken-word pieces and read poems from his chapbook “E’s-kphrasis”.

Jennah Fakhouri – Spoken Word
Jennah Fakhouri is a Mass Communication senior at the American University of Sharjah. She started performing her poetry in the 10th grade and has won competitions, both nationally and internationally, ever since. She often uses her poetry to give a voice to the voiceless, particularly in regards to Palestinian narratives. Jennah loves to read, write, and horse ride. Her love of adrenaline has led her to skydive, jetski, snorkel, zipline and even fall off a mountain (though, perhaps, not intentionally). She one day dreams of traveling the world, collecting experiences along the way.

Mahwash Rehman – Poet
Mahwash Rehman is an international freelance photographer, a business professional and an activist. She had her first book published last year- Women In Green And Beyond– a powerful visual narrative, with the aim to initiate public discourse and reflections on women empowerment and add to the global gender conversation. Currently she is Empower Women Champion For Change 2016-2017 and leading a campaign #BreakTheGlass.  She is also an active member of global campaign Lean In. Self-exploration and patriotism being her driving force, Rehman also expresses her thoughts through poetry. Her diverse work is published in the U.S., U.A.E., India and Pakistan.

Hiralal Sangar – Vocalist
Hiralal is from a family/ generation of folk singers from the region of Kutch in Western Gujrat. Hiralal was inducted into the tradition of folk singing from a very early age of 8 as he accompanied his travelling father and his troupe. And his proficiency in varied forms was developed over the years in Folk, Garbha [festival signing] and Bhajans or Kirtans [devotional songs], and, has delivered approximately 750 performances over 28 years for an audience of 10-15,000 capacity.

Reem Almenhali – Poet
Emirati psychology student at NYUAD. Poetry in modern standard Arabic covering: storytelling poems, romantic poems, introspective poems.

Jorge Monterrosa – Poet
Jorge Monterrosa is a poet and short story writer. Originally from Los Angeles, Jorge moved to New York to study writing at Sarah Lawrence College. He graduated in 2009 with a liberal arts degree and a concentration in creative writing. In 2012 he graduated from Long Island University with a master’s degree in Education. Jorge taught English in Brooklyn for six years before eventually moving to the UAE in 2015 to work as an English teacher. Presently, Jorge teaches English in Abu Dhabi, is working on a manuscript, and performs at local venues in the area.

Mohamed Morshed – Saxophonist
Artist born in the UAE – Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Studying in Egypt and musician of the year 1994-1997. Mohamed Morshed is the first Emirati saxophone player.

Nabiha Nahyan – Poet
My name is Nabiha Nahyan, from the United Arab Emirates. I was raised in Abu Dhabi, a city that keeps growing and changing rapidly in a short period of time. Living in one of the most culturally cosmopolitan countries on the planet made me appreciate the nuances of thought and behavior among the people we come across with in our day-to-day lives which inspired me to begin writing from a very young age. Ever since it was a dream for me to publish a book, which I am currently working on. Throughout the years my passion has grown from writing stories to poetry recently. With that being said, my writing has opened several doors for me from having my own workshops to performing poetry around different platforms in Abu Dhabi.

Sara Al Souqi – Poet
Sara Al Souqi is a published  author,Palestinian-Canadian Spoken Word Artist, & Special Needs Educator. Sara is the 2016 Edmonton Slam Champion and a former member of Edmonton’s 2012, and 2016 Slam teams. Her poetry surrounds personal life experiences from the stand point of a 3rd generation of diaspora, and humanitarian issues that exist in the world around her.

NOON – Arabic fusion band
Noon is an experimental project comprising of Ratish Chadha (drums and percussion), Usef Nader (oud and electronics), Charbel Naim (guitars and sounds) and Anthony Mina (bass and other lower frequencies). In the midst of an adventurous live music oriented birthday celebration in the Winter of 2015, both the oud player and drummer had an exchange of a prolific musical conversation. Since then both individuals had been working together to bring forth a new musical concept, a new sound. After searching tirelessly for the right components, they ultimately came to them. Both the guitarist and bass player were enthusiasts of fusion music, but most of all, they had an ear for oriental music and a passion to do something different within the Eastern music realm. Before we knew it, as a band, we were doing things that we didn’t know were possible. We are pushing boundaries. We are NOON

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