DUBAI, – Ahead of his showcase at Expo 2020 Dubai, ‘Beyond the Stars’, which features performers from a number of different cultures and backgrounds, British composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, arranger and producer Sami Yusuf spoke to the Expo News Service about his influences for the event, which included the theme of Expo, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, and the Holy Quran.
What can audiences expect this weekend?
“I will be giving visitors to Expo 2020 an hour-long musical extravaganza called ‘Beyond the Stars’. We’ve been working on it for a while now, with an amazing and talented team. I think this performance is in line with the vision of Dubai and the UAE as a whole, in terms of its ambition and scope, so I’m very pleased with it, and I’m convinced it will impress all who watch.”
You’re known for performing in many different languages, such as Turkish, English and Urdu. Dubai is a very multicultural place, so will we see that in the show?
“I’ve sung in English in the UK; in Azerbaijani in Azerbaijan; and I’m used to reflecting linguistic diversity in my performances, which I think is pretty cool. I grew up in London, which is one of those linguistically-diverse cities, a bit like Dubai, and it also has this great mix of nationalities, cultures and religions. I find that very powerful, as it can make you think of many different things, and take your music in all of these different directions.”
At lot of the performers in ‘Beyond the Stars’ are from different backgrounds, is that right?
“I think, when you look at the emirate of Dubai, and then the scale of this truly exceptional event, you need a global work of art of the same magnitude. And with the location, the story we tell is inspired by the Holy Quran. So we start at the beginning, and the origins of the world and the universe, and embark on this musical journey. I also like that we get to perform in Al Wasl Plaza, which channels history in its own way, as Al Wasl is the old name for Dubai.”
Will you perform any of your more familiar songs?
“I’m so proud of all the songs that I’ve performed in the past, which were so successful and popular among audiences, and I’m delighted and honoured that so many people around the world continue to listen to them. All of my previous songs had great music, the universal language. And for this event, the music has been created with help from a talented team who come from all over the world, so I’m convinced that if people will not come for me, they will come to enjoy the music created by these multinational, multilingual musicians.”
In your opinion, what will Expo 2020 provide to humanity?
“Expo 2020 Dubai is an exceptional international event, held in the ideal place, Dubai. Everyone is proud of that, from citizens to residents to foreign visitors. It’s a historic event. The important question is, why Dubai? And the answer is because geographically Dubai is in the heart of the world, and it’s great that all of us are proud of this event, and we can enjoy and benefit from it any way we like.”
Finally, what is it that music offers Expo 2020 Dubai?
“The music is in line with the main theme of Expo 2020 Dubai, and it’s enhancing the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. It also gives our hearts peace and brings people together. It’s the same message of Expo 2020 – an exceptional celebration and an amazing feeling.”