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By Sekka Team
In these strange and unprecedented times that we are living through because of the COVID-19 crisis, many of us may feel lost, uninspired, and unmotivated. We may be experiencing feelings that we have not experienced before. We may miss our friends, and we may miss the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Social distancing may have also resulted in us finally giving that dream business of ours a thought, but we may not know where to begin.
Some of us at Sekka have found solace in podcasts. Though developed in 2004, podcasts have only garnered popularity in the Gulf region in the past few years. The great thing about podcasts is that, unlike videos, we don’t have to be tuned in in front of a screen, but could simply have them play in the background as we go about our day.
We’ve compiled a list of podcasts from the Gulf region that will help keep you entertained, informed, and hopefully inspired during these times:
True Story Tent
Founded by Omani television director Abdullah Al-Mawali, True Story Tent is a safe space where people gather and share their true and personal stories. The events take place across different cities in the Middle East. At the gatherings, which are pre-announced on the podcast’s social media pages, anyone who wants to share a story just has to write their name on a piece of paper, place it in a bowl, and Abdullah would pick one at random. The person who then has the microphone would share a personal story, a memory, or an event that has impacted them in some way. The podcast is a product of those gatherings, which are then edited by Abdullah and broadcasted. Some the stories shared have revolved around secret marriages, adoption, and love and prejudice.
Frame Podcast is a weekly Arabic podcast from Oman founded by Hussain Al-Bahraini. As the name suggests, Frame discusses the latest in photography, videography, and technology. Hussain hosts different personalities across the photography field from landscape to macro to wedding photographers. The show is highly recommended for those who are interested in these fields and would like to hear from experienced photographers and filmmakers, and learn from their experiences.
Founded in 2015 by Saudi host Abdulrahman Abumalih, Fnjan which literally translates to ‘a coffee cup’, is a weekly Arabic podcast. Fnjan is one of the leading podcasts from the region with over 12 million listeners. The podcast is available with additional video footage on YouTube. Guests hosted by Abdulrahman have included businessman and CEO of KBW Ventures Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Emirati art collector, lecturer, and columnist Saood Al Qassemi, and Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development. Abdulrahman discusses a variety of topics with guests from diverse backgrounds such as, “Who Produces Saudi Art?”, “The Importance of Mental Health”, and “Can We Discover a Vaccine for the Coronavirus?” . The podcast therefore provides a ‘sip’ of every topic.
Daera which translates to ‘circle’ in Arabic, is an emerging Arabic podcast by Bahraini writer and photographer Jehan Al Khateeb. What makes her podcast unique is that it’s personal. Jehan asks questions and discusses emotions that many of us experience such as self-blame, and the shame that some of us feel when we share our feelings. The episodes are short (less than 20 minutes each), making them perfect for those who want to hear something impactful on the go.
Produced by Finyal Media, Yalla Podcast is a show broadcasted in English, and hosted by entrepreneurs and friends Mshari Alonaizy and Majid Al Qassimi. It follows their journey as they pursue their dream of starting their podcasting company, Finyal Media, in Dubai. Today, Finyal Media is a podcast production company that produces various Arabic podcasts across different genres. Yalla Podcast discusses different business aspects, such as financials, hiring a CEO, mistakes to avoid in business, and creating content. It’s a great option to tune into if you are thinking of starting your own business.
The word dukkan means ‘shop’ in Arabic. The Dukkan Show, founded by Omar Tom, a Sudanese who was raised in the UAE, claims to be “the voice of Neo-bedouins and the home of the others”. Tuning into it, you will feel like you are listening to a group of friends conversing at their own shop stoop because of its casual vibe. The podcast, broadcasted in English, discusses broad topics from life in quarantine, to feeling burnout.
The Goodness Podcast
Launched in Dubai this year, The Goodness Podcast, which is broadcasted in English, shares the stories of inspirational women living in the Middle East. Hosted by the co-founder Noor Teheni, inspirational women across several sectors discuss survival, triumph, and loss, as well as share vital advice with listeners. The latest episodes tackle topics such as managing fear and anxiety amidst the COVID-19 crisis, and healing the mind, body, and soul.
Founded in 2015, Kerning Cultures is a female-led network. It features Arabic and English podcasts. The team of 12 works across 7 cities globally to produce episodes that discuss a variety of stories and topics predominantly from the Middle East, from historic Ramadan stories, to a meditative series that allows us to experience the concepts of forgiveness, mercy, and peace, to personal stories revolving around identity and culture.
Founded by Nathalie Gillet, a French journalist based in Abu Dhabi, the Emirati Stories Podcast introduces the Emirati society to international audiences through individual stories of personalities hosted on the show. Every episode, broadcasted in English, features an Emirati personality from a different sector. Guest have included Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi (AKA “The Green Sheikh”), an avid environmentalist, Reem and Arsalan, founders of interior design company “The Native Bohemians”, and Emirati artist and author Jalal Luqman.
Kayf which translates to “how” in Arabic, is an Arabic podcast hosted by Kuwaiti Abdulrahman Al Jassir. The Arabic show, just as the name indicates, is a cultural show that encourages us to ask questions and broaden our thinking. The questions discussed include how love starts, how creativity is born, how to appreciate yourself, and how to beat fear. As many of us are working on our self-development through quarantine, this show is a helpful show to tune into.
The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.