“Music allows you to time travel” - says Grammy award-winning singer and producer Babyface at the sixth edition of the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi, themed ‘A Matter Of Time’


Grammy award-winning singer, producer and songwriter Babyface at the sixth edition of Culture Summit Abu Dhabi, 2024. Courtesy DCT Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, March 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The sixth edition of Culture Summit Abu Dhabi (3-5 March) opened and closed on a musical note, with EGOT John Legend delighting a private audience during an intimate conversation over the opening dinner, underscoring the power of music to bring communities together. On the final day of the Summit, Grammy award-winning singer, producer and songwriter Babyface took to the stage for a conversation with Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy®, echoing Legend’s sentiment. “Music allows you to time travel,” said Kenneth Edmonds, aka Babyface. “It’s the best investment for connecting the world.”

Over three days of conversations, performances, workshops and keynote addresses, speakers including cultural practitioners, ministers, and policy makers underscored the critical impact of culture in addressing the challenges facing the world today, and the urgency to prioritise culture as a tool for the betterment of societies. Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy® since 2021, said: “Through technology in art and music, the world is shrinking and allowing us to understand each other better. Culture has the power to change hearts and minds, while bringing people together. Music has an ability to heal, to care at times of immense change; we must continue to create spaces for people to do the important work that they do. Saadiyat Island Cultural District in Abu Dhabi provides one such space.”

Panos A. Panay, President of Recording Academy®, has taken part in the Culture Summit since its first edition in 2017. On the importance of this annual gathering of global minds, he said: “The ability to bring together thought leaders, policy makers, creators, and business people from within the industry in such a multidisciplinary way is very important, critical, and urgent. Only in Abu Dhabi would you be able to have this kind of gathering because, whether by design or happenstance, it’s such an amalgamation of cultures, people and beliefs. It’s impossible to separate the gathering [Culture Summit] from the place.”

Culture Summit 2024 put music at its heart, kicking off each of the three days with musical performances to invigorate discussions. “That’s why we are here: resilience through cultural performance,” said Tim Marlow OBE, Chief Executive and Director at the Design Museum and MC of the Summit following a powerful performance by Fatima Alhashmi, Head of Music at the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.

Other performances included Grammy, Peabody, Clio & NAACP Image award-winning poet, author, actor and recording artist poet J. Ivy, who celebrated his birthday at the Summit alongside his wife, singer-songwriter Tarrey Torae with a moving spoken word performance; Lebanese soprano Hiba Kawas; Iraqi musician and oud player Naseer Shamma; electroacoustic duo ARKAI; and a musical minute by Emirati pop star Hussain Al Jassmi during a creative conversation on Day 1; Emirati traditional performing artist and poet Nhayan Mubarak Taleb Almansouri; and The New York Gypsy All-Stars who entertained crowds under the dome of the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Day 2.

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi is an annual global forum that convenes leaders from the fields of arts, design, heritage, media, museums, public policy and technology to identify ways in which culture can transform societies and communities worldwide. This year’s edition, held at Manarat Al Saadiyat in the UAE capital, welcomed over 200 speakers and 1,150 participants from 90 countries. Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), this extraordinary event is created in collaboration with global partners including UNESCO, Economist Impact, the Design Museum, Google, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and the Recording Academy®.

For more information on Culture Summit Abu Dhabi, its full programme, and sessions available to watch online, please visit www.culturesummitabudhabi.com

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi Press Kit, including imagery, is available here.

Anastasia Lander, Pelham Communications

About the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors, fuels economic progress and helps achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions. By working in partnership with the organisations that define the emirate’s position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the emirate’s potential, coordinate effort and investment, deliver innovative solutions, and use the best tools, policies, and systems to support the culture, creative and tourism industries.

DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the emirate’s people, heritage, and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a place of authenticity, innovation, and unparalleled experiences, represented by its living traditions of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thought. 

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/1b49a38c-35f3-49fb-8afd-748029e74628