Dubai: We have all heard the phrase that the UAE is a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities. But, a group of musicians have come together to prove it.
On the UAE’s 46th National Day, Indian-national Aswathi Kurup, Filipina-national Catherine Naoe Balza, British-national Karl Fielder and Cameroon-national Yanick Agbor got together for an incredible rendition of ‘Jai ho’, A. R. Rahman’s Oscar winning track from the movie Slum Dog Millionaire.
Though the four singers did not know each other, and have full time jobs, they have music in common. The project was brought together by a Dubai-based company, Brothers Incorporated. Ninad Shah, co-founder of Brothers Incorporated, explained how the four musicians were asked to join the project to honour both the UAE and A. R. Rahman.
He said: “The power of A. R. Rahman’s music has connected people globally. The idea for us was to showcase this message and the diversity that is so unique to the UAE. It’s amazing to see how four music enthusiasts, from different walks of life, came together for this.”
Kurup, who works in an events management company, took up music 16 years ago, but has not been able to pursue it full-time. When she was asked to be a part of this journey, she thought it was a “blessing” for her.
She said: “I come from a family of musicians. Every Indian child growing up in the 1990s has been brought up with A R Rahman’s music, which has an influence on them. Rahman plays a very important part in all our lives.”
The video for the song was shot at the Bollywood Parks, which is a part of the Dubai Parks and Resorts. The musicians believe it to be a loving tribute to the music composer and how his music has always converged cultures, continents and class.
Balza’s contact number was forwarded to the organisers by one of her friends. She now works as a makeup artist, but having started her music career as a band singer in 1999, she jumped on board immediately.
She said: “I was asked to interpret the song into Tagalog. I had to re-write it in a poetic way. It was a lot of fun and I would love to work on another one of these projects. We got a chance to express how this country is gathering a mixture of nationalities and how we celebrate being in the UAE for so long.”
Fielder, a Dubai-based business owner, has been in the UAE for 10 years and he believes the song is an excellent example of how people of different nationalities can work together and demonstrate harmony.
He said: “That is the UAE. This song was quite challenging. But, it’s a great song and anyway you sing it, it sounds fantastic! ‘Jai Ho’ means victory, which is a sign of what we’re all aspiring for.”
Agbor became a part of the project as he has always been inspired by the melody of this song.
He said: “I clearly remember when the song first hit the radio. I could never imagine that one day I would be performing it myself surrounded by fellow musicians!”
Music has been a part of his life since childhood and in his home country, he had more time to sing. But, now he works as a foreman in Abu Dhabi and mostly sings in the community church.