I must admit that in the past I believed that despite the plethora of talent amongst the huge expat population, a night of really good quality live music was difficult to come by in Doha. Perhaps I’d been spoiled by the array of music genres on offer any night of the week in my home city of London, or perhaps I’d just had some bad experiences, but apart from a brilliant set by Showtek last year, I couldn’t remember many nights of music where I’d left thinking: “wow!”.
Then I discovered Jazz in the Park, and immediately changed my mind. The Museum of Islamic Art has partnered with Jazz at The Lincoln Centre to give Doha residents the opportunity to experience beautiful live music in an outdoor setting. Once a month a little stage is set up in a tucked away location right at the end of the MIA Park, looking out over The Corniche and the bright lights of the city beyond.
We headed over there to take in some smooth and soulful jazz at the end of last year, before the winter winds had arrived, making outside evening activities less appealing. It was a balmy night, but a clear one, and as a result, the bright skyline which formed a backdrop to the stage was quite a spectacle.
Fronted by new talent every 2-4 weeks, the band, which is usually based at Jazz At The Lincoln Centre at the St Regis Doha, is quirky and talented, entertaining and innovative. And I enjoyed every second of their set.
If you read yesterday’s post, you will know that I popped into the band’s usual home in the St Regis hotel on Saturday, and we have booked a table for a night of jazz with friends this week, but I don’t think anything will beat listening to a jazzy version of Nature Boy by moonlight while looking out over views like this.
Check out the Museum of Islamic Art’s website for details of upcoming Jazz in the Park events, or alternatively, if you would prefer something a little more sophisticated (and indoors!), have a look at the events page of JALC, St Regis, Doha.
When I was assessing the quality of the Doha music scene previously, I had also overlooked those musicians that played or sung in their spare time. Those really talented individuals that held down a full-time job, but made time for music in the evenings and at weekends because they are so in demand, and so amazingly good.
One such ‘free time’ singer is Hayley Walmsley, whose career I have followed for a while now (not just because she has a beautiful voice, but because she has also become a very good friend).
Hayley has a regular spot at the Spice Market brunch on a Friday, where she sings a mixture of jazz, modern pop and soulful numbers, accompanied by a four-piece band. She is also in high demand for gigs all over the region with band members from Doha Jazz. However, her and the rest of her band can also be hired privately for all kinds of functions, from social gatherings and parties to corporate functions, with a variety of different band set-ups.
Having watched Miss Walmsley do her thing on stage several times now, having enjoyed her engaging repertoire and been lulled by that sensual silky-smooth voice of hers, I am in no doubt that raw musical talent does exist in Doha. You’ve just got to know where to find it!
If you’re interested in hiring Hayley and her band for a function or event, you can contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or drop me a message below.
Are there any other live music events, or talented musicians in Doha that you think we should all know about?
Look out for this post and other great Doha reviews on Funky Qatar Blog: www.funkyqatarblog.com