Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present

SB15 is now closed. Thank you for your support. Updates on the Biennial can be read here.


A series of concerts, performances and recitals, the music component of Sharjah Biennial 15 (SB15), brings together six highly celebrated international artists and ensembles: Abdullah Ibrahim, Boubacar Traoré, Noura Mint Seymali, Tinariwen, and Youssou N’Dour. Resonating with the Biennial’s theme, ‘thinking historically in the present’, the various performances treat audiences to a range of genres and sonic experiences that are rooted in older traditions and cultures yet connected to newer musical forms such as jazz, blues, rock and soul.

South African pianist and composer Ibrahim, considered the leading figure in the subgenre of Cape jazz, begins the series, which continues with Traoré, a symbol of Malian music since the 1960s, whose influences include American blues and Arab and West African Mandé music. Following these performances, Seymali, singer and songwriter from a family of Mauritanian musical figures and master of the ardin [a harp-like instrument], as well as Tinariwen, a collective of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of Mali and pioneers of desert blues, take to the stage. Finally, Grammy Award-winning N'Dour, who helped develop a style of popular Senegalese music known as mbalax.

Spread across three venues in Sharjah—the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy, Africa Hall and the Cultural Palace—the SB15 Music Programme takes place between 12 March and 27 May 2023. This series of presentations is a continuation of Sharjah Art Foundation’s and Sharjah Biennial’s longstanding interest in sound and music culture in the region and beyond.

This programme has been made possible with the generous support of Bank of Sharjah and Sharjah Government Media Bureau.