Xchange and the Middle Eastern music workshops

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In the bustling metropolises of the Middle East, a diverse array of music fills the air, ranging from traditional folk to rock and jazz, as well as cutting-edge genres like Arabic rap, hip-hop, and house. This lively soundtrack plays endlessly, enhancing the daily experience of city life.

Despite music being the heart and soul of the Middle East, local musicians face challenges in gaining recognition, a loyal fan base, and financial stability. In order to tackle these issues, Xchange, a program consisting of music workshops held in major cities across the region, is determined to make a difference.

Xchange is uniting musicians, producers, and promoters in trendy creative hubs located in some of the busiest cities in the MENA region. Here, they can exchange experiences and collaborate on future ideas while enjoying a memorable evening.

The workshop series is the newest event presented by the same team of innovative individuals behind the XP Music Futures conference.

The region poses numerous challenges for local music makers. Issues surrounding performance rights are a common concern. Government policies and bureaucracy, in certain areas, may hinder creativity. Obtaining licenses can prove to be a challenge, and the continuous closure of small venues makes it particularly difficult for independent musicians to cultivate live audiences.

To combat these challenges, the music business is turning to innovation for growth. Lack of venues? Not an issue—the MENA music industry is thriving with impromptu gatherings, festivals, and digital platforms run by independent record labels.

In the Middle East, Xchange offers workshops focused on music.

According to Yasmine Rasool, XP’s head of programming, we understand the obstacles that Middle Eastern artists, promoters, and event organizers face. Each challenge motivates us to establish a solid base for the music scene to not just endure, but flourish. As one, we are fostering strength, solidarity, and dedication.

During a recent Xchange workshop held in Amman, Jordan, renowned producer and creative director Shermine Sawalha emphasized the potential of meetups and collaborations as a path towards progress for the local ecosystem.

At Xchange, we understand that many individuals tend to work separately rather than collaboratively. That’s why we have assembled a label manager, venue owner, and community radio founder to bridge those divides and identify avenues for progress.

According to speakers in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, investing in the development of genuine, grassroots communities of independent musicians and creatives is crucial in order for their cities to truly thrive as cultural hubs.

Regardless of the location, every Xchange workshop concludes with the uplifting sounds of local artists, showcasing the remarkable musical ingenuity and variety of this area. The atmosphere exudes a sense of jubilation and optimism – optimism for a tomorrow where the dedication and skills of Middle Eastern musicians are recognized to their fullest extent.

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