Dubai: Legendary music producer Quincy Jones vowed to make a difference in the Middle East through music when he landed in Dubai to release a charity single on Thursday. The song, Bokra, is the Arabic answer to of Jones’ 1985 global charity hit We Are The World, and is the result of a longstanding friendship between Jones and UAE businessman Badr Jafr.
Meaning “tomorrow” in Arabic, Bokra brings together 24 top Arab music stars including singer Majida El Roumi, Kadim Al Sahir, Marwan Khoury, Sherine Abdel Wahab and Tamer Hosny. Stars from 16 nations across the Middle East and North Africa - from Morroco, Algeria and Libya to Saudi Arabia, OMan and the UAE sing on the track, which aims to raise funds for education projcets in the region.
“Music will right all the wrongs,” said Jones at a press conference in Dubai a day ahead of the track’s premiere. “Someone once told me, the only thing you need to know when visiting another country is the food, the music and 20 words of the language. For everything else we are all the same.” Jones said there was no one event that galvanised the efforts. “It was a dream that we wanted to do something, and then it just came about.”
Grammy-award winner Jones is probably best know for his work with Michael Jackson, and produced the King of Pop’s Thriller album. Bokra is an Arabic-language version of his song Tomorrow, a Better You, a Better Me. The Arabic lyrics are by Lebanese singing star Majida El Roumi, while Iraqi star Kadim Al Sahir adapted the music. Senegalese hip-hop singer Akon also provides vocals, while Lebanese-Colombian Shakira has recorded an introduction to the music video.
“We must share the desire for peace, unity, hope and a better tomorrow,” added Jones. “We have to come together to achieve that dream. I sincerely hope this recording will be the first of many collaborations between our two cultures.”
Funds raised by single will be distributed by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture to charities including United Nations World Food Programme, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation.
Bokra will be premiered on Friday at a special event in the UAE under the Royal Patronage of Her Highness Shaikha Manal Bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment, wife of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs, and broadcast over television and the internet. An album featuring the single and tracks from the contributing artists will be released by Sony Music.