An Abu Dhabi-based musician is spreading joy in his neighbourhood as people stay home by playing the piano from his window. The applause, cheers and whistles are his motivation.
Artie Poghosyan is an Armenian expat living in the UAE's capital for 21 years, and he calls it his home. “I love it here, the people, the country, so I had to give back,” he said.
Poghosyan learnt his basics at a music school back home and studied for five years in London, UK. He describes himself as a jazz musician.
After coming to the UAE, the pianist joined the Abu Dhabi Big Band that mainly plays jazz music in the Emirates.
Fast forward to 2020, the 39-year-old who currently teaches at Abu Dhabi Grammar School and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi found himself at home and decided to share his musical talent with his neighbours in the capital's Al Zahiyah area.
“I saw that people have been overall depressed because of the coronavirus situation so I decided to add something positive in their lives,” he said.
Cheers and whistles
As the National Sterilisation Programme began in the UAE, people started to cheer from their balconies and windows for the authorities’ efforts as well as for frontline workers.
One of those times when the crowd was cheering, Poghosyan sat with his keyboard lined next to his window and started playing. “I decided to make my own noise,” he said.
“The crowd started listening and I even noticed the sound reducing,” he said.
His performance was received with whistles and claps and ever since, he has been playing for his neighbours as they stay home whenever he finds the time.
“If we were not staying home like we are now, I wouldn’t have ever thought of playing this way. People would have considered it rude and thrown tomatoes at me,” Poghosyan said.
He has gotten a positive response from those surrounding him and enjoying his music.
“People wave at me and clap for me. One day even a sanitisation worker in a hazmat suit waved at me,” he said.
Taking song requests
He said that people gather in their balconies surrounding his and listen while some even shout out requests.
“It has pushed me to play melodies I wouldn’t have thought of trying,” said.
Poghosyan said that he has played the UAE national anthem and he was also requested to play the song Nassam Alayna el Hawa by Lebanese singer Fairuz.
“Everyone does their job, doctors, nurses, teachers, I want to do my part,” he said.
Currently, Poghosyan is staying at home with his wife, two-year-old twins, his mother and his grandmother who had come for a visit but could not go back due to the flight cancellations.
His mother, Karine Poghosyan is a lactation consultant at a hospital in Abu Dhabi, working amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
“I get to know stories of doctors working at the hospital from my mother, and it drives me to sprinkle some positivity in people’s days,” he said.