Dubai: UAE residents are transforming their homes, balconies and living spaces into makeshift work and entertainment modules during the coronavirus pandemic and are sharing their ideas on social media for the benefit of all.
The music video
Armenian expat Joseph Terterian, 32, is releasing a cover version of Toni and I’s chart topper ‘Dance Monkey’ with Bulgarian producer Stoyan Stoyanov Storn.
“The project was actually recorded in January and a music video was supposed to be shot in March, however due to the current COVID-19 situation and the UAE government measures to curb the spread of it, the song now is being done – let’s say – a bit differently,” he said.
“In support of the campaign, ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’, Stoyan and I decided to shoot a music video using clips of people in their own homes. The idea involved having people in the video who were interested to take part in this positive and fun project.”
“It was heartening to see how UAE residents supported me in this initiative. They have all volunteered their time to make this project come to light. In many ways this is a testament to solidarity and how the community is coming together as one large unit to fight COVID-19.
“Now, in a situation like this, I feel the need to be connected with music even more.”
The balcony marathon
South African expats Collin and Hilda Allin even ran a 42.2-km marathon over 2,222 laps of their 19-metre balcony in Meydan last Saturday. They streamed their run on Facebook live to 7,000 people around the world and now plan to do more such runs with the participation of others worldwide to try and raise funds and awareness for coronavirus, particularly in poorer nations.
“We started at 6am in the morning and it took four and half hours of actual running,” said Collin.
Initially he had feared there would be complaints from neighbours due to the music at that hour, but he was pleasantly surprised.
“People were making music requests, cheering us on and even joining in,” he said.
“Since this virus, there has been a rise in the sense of community. Everyone feels like we’re in this together, and we can survive this together,” he added.
“Turning around was a big struggle. You run, then you stop, turn and then accelerate again. Imagine doing that over 2,000 times, it’s such an unnatural movement in your body. We also got rained on early in the morning at around 7am. The whole balcony became an ice rink, we were slipping and sliding all over the place. Then by midday it became extremely hot and we got sunburnt.”
The home DJ
Born and raised in Dubai, 35-year old Egyptian expat Karim Barkouki, also known as DJ Stylez has taken to Instagram to get his music across to listeners now that the clubs are shut.
“Since Dubai is a multicultural society I try to please every aspect of the crowd,” he said. “I play all styles - Hip hop, Rnb, old school, afrobeats, trap, oldies/disco, house music, reggaeton, reggae, dancehall and Arabic music for weddings, corporate events and upon request. It is important to keep hopes up and stay positive so I try to bring in humour into the whole thing. I put on a scary mask, crack a few jokes and play along. Positivity has to come from within and one must spread the cheer far.”
He basically plays people's requests.
The remote quizmaster
American expat Ross Crist, 33 - a lecturer who doubles up as an event host and presenter - has been hosting quizzes from the confines of his apartment.
He, like Joseph and Karim wants to reach out to people, keep them busy, away from all the fear and anxiety over COVID-19.
“It is a good time to get every one’s mind off the coronavirus,” he said.
To keep people engaged, Crist has tied up with a restaurant in Palm Jumeirah, Bidi Bondi, to give away prizes for quiz winners. Crist anticipates Monday will see a big turnout as the last quiz he hosted while in self-quarantine saw 100 people logging in as participants. “It went really well and seeing the success of this, I have decided to host another one.”
The balcony pool party
Meanwhile, Brazilian expat Beatriz Meirelles, 30, a relationship manager for a Dubai hotel, is upholding her love of pool and beach parties despite the ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ campaign.
“To distract myself and my friends from the current situation the world is going through I have created a “beach club” right here in my balcony with a tiny inflatable pool, a music system and my dog Bella’s toys. We [Bella and me] enjoy some sun right here in the safety of my house. During a self-isolation time, it is important to keep yourself busy in the right and positive way. Find things to do – whether it is working out, reading books, listening to music or doing something creative. For me it is about doing things around the house for the benefit of my dog and me.”