Musicians representing about 190 nations have been brought together in the Dubai desert to perform an unprecedented rendition of the UAE national anthem, as part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s celebrations to mark the 47th UAE National Day and the Year of Zayed – honouring the country’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Image Credit:

Dubai: Singers and instrumentalists representing about 190 nations gathered together in the Dubai desert to perform an unprecedented rendition of the UAE national anthem as part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s celebrations to mark the 47th UAE National Day

The orchestral performance of Ishy Bilady — which translates as ‘Long Live My Country’ — also includes seven Emirati musicians, symbolising each of the UAE’s emirates.

The performance was filmed by the UAE’s first female director, the award-winning Nayla Al Khaja, and captures the nation’s spirit of collaboration, as well as the warm hospitality that will be on show when Expo 2020 welcomes the world to the UAE in less than two years.

The multinational orchestra vividly illustrates the Expo 2020’s global impact, days after it was announced that 190 countries have confirmed participation. This number surpasses the 180-nation commitment set out in Dubai’s successful 2013 bid to host the World Expo in 2020.

The video begins with a shot of the beautiful Dubai desert landscape where, nestled between the dunes, sits an empty stage. The seven Emirati musicians take their position before being joined onstage by a choir made up of a diverse group of people from across the UAE, and the rest of the orchestra, who begin to tune their instruments.

The orchestra then performs a stirring rendition of Ishy Bilady, while an Emirati Expo 2020 volunteer presents the lyrics of the national anthem in sign language.

Dr Hayat Shamsuddin, Vice-President – Arts and Culture, Content and Programming, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Watching this beautiful rendition of our national anthem was so moving. Nayla Al Khaja has captured the spirit of tolerance and unity that exists in the UAE, where more than 200 nationalities live in perfect harmony.

The performance also marks the Year of Zayed — honouring the country’s founding father, Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

“This year’s UAE National Day carries additional significance, given that 2018 also marks 100 years since the birth of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. We wanted to create something special and impactful that honours our founding father and showcases the welcoming nature of the UAE. This production is a wonderfully fitting ode to our great nation.”

Shot in the picturesque desert off Al Qudra, Al Khaja said: “The film was on a completely different scale than anything I’ve ever worked on. The sheer size of the production was astounding. I absolutely loved the challenge.”