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Yoshi's Blend by Mackenzie Sheppard

Yoshi's Blend is a lovely short film by Mackenzie Sheppard. It's about a wonderful man called Yoshi Masuda, a coffee enthusiast who has been sharing his passion for coffee with victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

The film starts off with him saying, "What is important, is our hearts to be broken into pieces and to be humble."  Pointing at is coffee grinder, he then says "This is a process to learn how to be humble."

Yoshi drives his van to the effected areas, meets the victims, serves them coffee and teaches them how to make coffee. All to the sounds of his old music records playing on his old gramaphone.

People like Yoshi Nasuda make life beautiful. 

I Yoshi.


Music Monday - Yuna


Yuna is a singer/songwriter from Malaysia. She is currently living in Los Angeles focusing on her music, developing her photography skills and managing her Malaysia-based clothing shop, I Am Jet Fuel.

I came across Yuna's music a few weeks ago and really enjoy listening to her. She has a beautiful soothing voice, and there's something elegant and understated about her style. A good change from the 'in your face/trying too hard' young female singers that I see on the music channels. 

Here are three of Yuna's videos, one of them is a cover of Nirvana's Come As You Are, which I think is quite good.



Live Your Life


Come As You Are




RIP Davy Jones

RIP Davy Jones, 1945-1966

From Davy Jones, signifier of modernity

He was the English kid who ended up in America, perched on the bonnet of the Monkeemobile next to its stupidly large chrome engine block, peering at us through his fringe; the Artful Dodger transported to the land of Marvel Comics and bubblegum, oblivious to My Lai, Altamont, the Watts Riots and the impending breakup of the actual Beatles themselves. Paul Mason




Obituray: Davy Jones
Life in Pictures: Davy Jones
Davy Jones, signifier of modernity

[Image via BBC]


Film Screening - George Harrison: Living in the Material World  

George Harrison: Living in the Material World will be screening in Abu Dhabi
on 7th March. The screening will include a talk with Olivia Harriso (George Harrison's widow and Producer of the film) and David Tedeschi (Editor of the film). 

Looks like it will be a great opportunity to know more about George Harrison and his life. 


An exceptional documentary of an extraordinary man, Living in the Material World tells the story of George Harrison through previously unseen archival material and interviews with his closest family and friends. The film, directed by Martin Scorsese, follows Harrison’s musical and spiritual voyage through his fifty-eight groundbreaking years: as part of the Beatles, as a solo musician, and as a devotee of the Hare Krishna tradition. Scorsese’s film inspires viewers in the way that Harrison’s life inspired the world.




Event details
Date: Wednesday, 7th March 2012 - 5.30pm-9.00pm
Venue: NYU Abu Dhabi, Downtown Campus (location map
Free entry, but it's recommended you RSVP here.  


The Sultans of Silver at The Empty Quarter

© Omar Alzaabi - Untitled (From the Other Life Series) 

The Sultans of Silver is the latest exhibition at The Empty Quarter which is on till 10th March. The exhibition features fine art black and white photographs, 
inspired by the culture and heritage from the Gulf region.

Here are the photographers included in this exhibition:


Joseph Hoflehner (Austria) an internationally acclaimed photographer known for his black and white landscapes. He has extensively traveled in the Arab region, including Yemen, the Emirates and now Zanzibar, with its many traces as part of the Omani culture, to which it is connected through a shared history.

 © Joseph Hoflehner – Untitled #27 - Zanzibar, Tanzania


© Joseph Hoflehner - Untitled #07 - Zanzibar, Tanzania



Nasser Al Hameli (UAE) is one of the few large format photographers in the UAE. Out of his passion for alternative photography and his love for the photographic print, he has taught himself, among others with the aid of online resources, to make exquisite platinum palladium prints.

© Nasser Alhameli - Alkhatim Scape


Omar Al Zaabi (UAE) has a series called Other Life, all shot in expressive contrasts, revealing a more existential, perhaps darker and rarely glimpsed side of life as experienced in his home country.

© Omar Alzaabi - Untitled (From the Other Life Series)


Sami Nabeel (Jordan) currently lives in London. He writes about Nocturnes, a series strongly influenced by classical music:

The forces of nature are much stronger than the forces deployed by us as individuals. We must understand not to fight these forces, but merge with them to achieve striking results. Having visited a location and made up my mind to photograph, I never look for a photograph. The photograph finds me and says 'I am here, take me', and I say 'yes, I can hear you'. When making my images, I do not allow what use they will have to cloud my mind. I believe that my art should be purposeless; it should not be diminished by serving other agendas. Nocturnes reflect my harmony with nature they are tranquil, expressive, lyrical and evocative.


 © Sami Nabeel - From the Nocturnes Series -Vik, Iceland© Sami Nabeel - From the Nocturnes Series - Skogafoss, Iceland














Exhibition details
Date: On till 10th March, open daily 9am-10pm (Friday 3pm-10pm)
Venue: The Empty Quarter, Gate Village, Bldg 2, DIFC Dubai, UAE 
Phone: +971 4 323 1210


Trailer Tuesday - Wonderland: A True Story


Wonderland: A True Story by Dana Al Mojil is a short film (38 minutes) from Kuwait that recently won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Zero Film Festival.

I've been hearing some good reviews from people I know that watched it. Not sure if it will make it's way to Dubai soon, but I hope it can be part of Gulf Film Festival in April.


Set in Kuwait, Wonderland: A True Story combines elements from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass to comment on the Arabic state’s power hierarchy and its similarities with Wonderland.





Music Monday - Grass House


For this week's Music Monday, I'd like to introduce you Grass House. This London based band was brought to my attention a few weeks ago and I've been listening to their music recently.

You should also check out their interactive site promoting their Ant Giant Ant EP. It's quite fun, if you like animated GIFs.

Here are three of their music videos. Enjoy.


Lazy Bones


A Cradle, A Short Breadth





(Thanks Adam for the tip.)


Eitetsu Hayashi - Taiko Legend 

© Sakae Oguma 

Eitetsu Hayashi is one of the legendary taiko drummers in Japan. He and his taiko ensemble EITETSU FU-UN no KAI, along with shakuhachi flute master Makoto Takei will be in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, 26th February and Wednesday, 29th February. Both events are open to the public.

Eitetsu Hayashi's career started as a founding member and principal performer of internationally renowned taiko groups Sado-Ondekoza and Kodo, and began his solo activities in 1982. He originated a unique and emotive o-daiko (big drum) solo style and created a new style of taiko performance that goes beyond the traditional styles. He's managed to fuse the taiko drum with other genres; from classical, jazz, rock, modern music and world music to dance.

In 1984, Hayashi made his debut with the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, as the first-ever solo taiko performer. Since then, he has been touring around the world, collaborating with variety of artists including the world’s top orchestras. He has garnered distinguished reviews and the highest acclaims as one and only taiko soloist in contemporary music scene.


"Each beat of the drum has to go deep. It has to arouse in the audience a boundless feeling, stretching back through time. What I am pursuing is a sound that embodies Nature, one that is both awe-inspiring yet serene" Eitetsu Hayashi




Event details

Abu Dhabi
Sunday, 26th February, 8.00pm - 9.30pm at the National Theatre (next to Abu Dhabi TV)

Wednesday, 29th February, 8.00pm - 9.30pm at The Dubai Culture and Scientific Association (Mamzar Theatre)

Location maps available here.


The Life in the Ice by Yassine Ouhilal 

Yassine Ouhilal spent three weeks in the freezing cold somewhere in Canada to make this time-lapse video. What amazed me are the scenes of the frozen layers heaving up and down as the water flows underneath, making the landscape look it's breathing.

The video is a bit long, just under 11 minutes long, but my favorite parts are captured in the first 3 minutes and the last 2 minutes. The video also features a contrast of old wooden cabins to modern architecture that look out of place in this cold and harsh landscape  - but that's what makes the whole thing interesting.

Time Lapse animation created with over 180,000 individual photographs shot over a period of three weeks in February 2012 that depicts the subtle movements and patterns of the Arctic Pack Ice. This film was made with 5 Canon Rebel T3 Cameras shooting different locations simultaneously.  Yassine Ouhilal

This is the second time I've featured Yassine Ouhilal on this blog. I wrote about another film he worked on, Arctic Surf, a stunning video about arctic surfers that you can watch here.


City of Samba by Keith Loutit and Jarbas Agnelli

City of Samba is a tilt shift video by Keith Loutit and Jarbas Agnelli, featuring, yes, you guessed it, the city of Rio de Janeiro. The second half of the video has wonderful scenes from last year's Carnaval.

It is one of the best tilt shift videos I've seen for a while. I just can't stop watching it. It's like one giant toy set that I want to lift and move into my living room.

It is 5 minutes and 47 seconds of WOW.