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our story


“Freshly Ground Sounds began in November 2013 as an idea to bring together musicians, music-lovers and independent community venues or initiatives.

Together, we have carved a niche in the UAE’s music scene that many of us were waiting for. Freshly is about the community spirit it creates, the connections that are made and the creativity it inspires. It feels special. We may keep growing but the foundations have not changed. Lo-fi, acoustic, plug-in, play, enjoy”

-Ismat Abidi, Founder

team freshly

Freshly Ground Sounds is based on the goodwill and creativity of some great people who donate their talent and spare time. Welcome to the Freshly Family:


Founder & Creative Director

“I attended an art evening in Dubai where a woman relentlessly vented her frustration at lack of a “real creative, art or music scene in the UAE”. A guest speaker relayed a quote that made her fall silent and the audience cheer. The mantra was “Don’t moan. Organise”. I think that’s what I did. Freshly Ground Sounds became the natural side-effect”.


Twitter: @izzyabidi



Kevin’s one of the finest gentlemen we’ve met. Fresh out of university, he put together a great mini-documentary on the UAE’s music scene and started coming to our gigs and enthusiastically taking footage.

He has natural talent for capturing different musicians’ style and the atmosphere at our events.

He follows Freshly around on and off-stage and makes some amazing videos.

Twitter: @noxvoyager

Instagram: @noxvoyager



“Hi. My name is Antonie and I’m all about making images. From the creation of vintage tintype images cooked up in a haze of collodion and silver to the modern day pixel pushing art of photography. I’ve been documenting the music scenes wherever I’ve gone since I was old enough to sneak into bars and clubs. And with Freshly Ground Sounds finally bringing a grass roots scene to the UAE I couldnt think of a better place to be with my camera.”

Instagram: @antonierobertson

Twitter: @antonier_r


Sound Guy

I’m part of team Freshly mainly because I love music, but I also happen to be the sound engineer that attempts to create clarity while avoiding to burst any ear drums in the process.”

Instagram: @khunfusa

Twitter: @khunfusa


Ultimate Hustler

Zahra puts the kettle on. Give her a problem and she’ll solve it. Give her some flour, she’ll bake a cake. Give her a folder, she’ll organise it. Zahra is Team Freshly’s ultimate hustler. She keeps the team in check with Freshly’s vision and values at the centre of everything she does. Freshly’s legit fangirl, attending our gigs since November 2013.

Instagram: @zahrammartin


Super Roadie

In his own words:

“Steven is a North Walian lad who arrived in Dubai via Sheffield and Surrey, England. Making life look awkward since 1984, he enjoys roadtrips, roasted vegetables and naps”.

Twitter: @stevenjohnbond

Instagram: @stevenjohnbond


Super Groupie

Eliot is a very ordinary human being with a luke-warm talent in Graphic design. He’s been following us around for some time now, but we kind of like it.

We pay him in Nando’s to work on our website and hand feed us grapes.






Rose and Leon

Good People

“Kia Ora from Roseleaf Café. We like making sweet coffee and baking nice things.

We like art, music and song. Most of all we like kooky people who also like the same.

This is a picture of our chicken and cat, they wake us up around 6am every day to make breakfast. You are always welcome”

Instagram: @RoseleafCafe


You guys keep surprising us with your stunning talent. Some raw, some polished, some shy, some divas. It’s a beautiful variety and most importantly, it’s real, so keep it coming. Thank you.


Freshly Fans

The music-loving, coffee-drinking, feet-tapping Freshly fans who keep turning up on our hundreds to support local talent. You guys encourage us to keep Freshly coming back and popping-up across the country. When we scope out venues and setup gigs, the experience for the audience is at the forefront of our minds. We always love to hear what you have to say. We always say that Freshly isn’t just about the musicians, it’s about the community of music-lovers too, and we really mean it. Thank you.



The Dealer

Peter is a key part of operations at Team Freshly. He is our british bulldog and our secret weapon when we need either: a kick ass artist to perform last-minute, or a delicious meal cooked during our team meetings at Freshly HQ.


Commercial Wingman

The ultimate lad, Hanny loves eating desserts and adores people with accents as peculiar as his own. He also works on our collaborations with local independent brands who want to join the Freshly family and comes up with all sorts of weird and wonderful sales techniques for our branded Freshly products. Hanny’s ultimate dream is to become Team Freshly’s Chief Commercial Wingman, on a wakeboard.



“Hello! I’m Dina, one half of Seven Minutes, the creative duo!

I am a happy go lucky, creative who loves illustrating & making people laugh!”


Graphic Designer

The sad part about living in the UAE is you sometimes have to say goodbye to some brilliant people. Ula helped us kick-start our signature design style of our logo and flyers.

They would not look anywhere near as cool without her.

This talented lady passed on all her skills and tricks to Team Freshly before moving back to London, but still helps us out when we get stuck.

What a gem.


web designer

Hey I’m Nat, my brother and I run a studio called Nine02 based in Canada. But most of our clients happen to be really great exciting small and medium businesses in Dubai.

Get in touch