29 March 2007
Khalid Al Shaikh: The Disappointment
Khalid Al Shaikh finally played in Bahrain’s Culture Hall on 27th March 2007, as part of the annual Spring of Culture. As much as I anticipated the event, it turned out to be a pitiful disappointment.
After a boring one hour wait for the show to commence, and after the agitated audience started clapping sarcastically for the unexplained delay, the curtains were pulled, and so we saw; a show that was way beyond unorganized and unimpressive.
What disturbed me the most about Al Shaikh’s performance was that he failed to pay attention and cater to his devoted Bahraini audience. Al Shaikh developed his “sophisticated” style in music so far away from the ground and forgot to create a rational link between his early, locally popular, Bahraini songs and his new rigid dreamy style. I, like many of my friends who were there, expected Al Shaikh to touch us with his old songs. Instead he chose to brag with a number of cluttered and incoherent ideas which didn’t make any sense to the humbly simple minds like mine. Even when, by the end of the show, he played the songs he composed for Abdullah Ruwaished (again, beautiful songs) he just didn’t hit the right spot.
Khalid Al Shaikh didn’t stop playing maestro. He was too casual on stage, strolling around the singers and musicians, and shouting at the director Amer Al Khuffash at one point, who was, mind you, not on stage. Al Khuffash, might I add, also has own too distinctive style, which usually involves a glitter-faced couple dancing unprofessionally opposite a dark background. Minimalist in a tacky way. That was Al Khaffash’s touch to the show. At a certain point there were even breakdancers on the stage dancing to traditional music. Nonsense.
The young performers obviously hadn’t practiced well enough, the music was louder than the singers’ voices and lyrics weren’t clear. Though Hala Al Sabbagh’s performance was excellent, and she did most of the singing, I personally had no idea who she was nor why she was there.
I am very upset with and for Khalid Al Shaikh. It is such a shame that Bahraini artists froze in the early nineties, and that includes actors, comedians and musicians. However, considering the current miserable living conditions and the lack of proper freedom of expression, how can you expect a bird to sing lively?