UAE singer only Arabic artist in One World: Together At Home to Celebrate COVID-19 Workers online music festival
As we enter another week of this working-from-home environment in which we find ourselves, it seems apt our live entertainment - even when it includes some of the biggest names in global music - should be enjoyed not in some muddy European field as has always been de rigueur around the turn of spring, but safe from the comfort of our own sofas. Glastonbury, T in The Park and Benicassim will have to wait this year, the wellies and glow sticks shall be furloughed until further notice, but that does not mean we will be forced to go without top acts and their gifts as the One World: Together At Home to Celebrate COVID-19 Workers online concert on Saturday night proved. Put together by Global Citizen and the World Health Organisation, One World assembled a who's who of superstars for an eight-hour livestream broadcast across several major social media and TV platforms from late April 18 to early April 19 (local time). Performers including Lizzo, Lady Gaga and Rita Ora gave us live sets interspersed with messages of hope and solidarity from luminaries such as Beyonce Knowles and Stephen Colbert, cut with informative videos about the critical efforts of front line workers and medical professionals. The goal - to transmit one crucial message: #StayHome.
At the centre of proceedings was the UAE's very own Hussain Al Jassmi, who was introduced with the tagline "incomparable" to the millions-strong audience by The Good Place actor, Jameela Jamil. Al Jassmi addressed the viewers in Arabic saying he was "proud to be an Emirati," in reference to the country's national response and international humanitarian efforts to beat coronavirus. The singer, who was the only resident Middle Eastern artist on the bill, then took to the piano to croon his well-known hits Mohem Jedan and Bahebek Wahashteni (Very Important and I Love You, I Miss You).
"The height of happiness and pride is to represent the country of the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf and the beloved Arab region in front of the world in this unified broadcast from my home," Al Jassmi said. "For the sake of humanity and its future...We sowed joy and hope."
"He received calls from a large group of famous people from around the world," Al Jassmi's information office told us after the gig. "They exchanged talks about the importance of participation in order to build bridges of hope in the coming period, and future cooperation at the technical level."
"We saw an unprecedented outpouring of support behind this digital broadcast, from the United Nations and government leaders, artists and speakers representing countries around the world, philanthropists and the private sector, as well as hundreds of thousands of Global Citizens," said Global Citizen. "It is through this support that we were able to secure $127.9 million in funding commitments that will go towards supporting The World Health Organization's Solidarity Fund to end COVID-19, as well as local organisations working tirelessly to address the pandemic and its impact on communities".