Some artists can do it all and Qatari musician Dana Al Fardan is no exception. Songwriting, composing and singing, a musical triple threat, Fardan is known for her eclectic style. She currently dabbles in everything from musicals to writing songs that blend together contemporary, western and neo-classical influences. And now, to culminate her most recent album “Indigo”, the artist released her final song, “Onyx”.
A Cosmic Musician
Despite her career as a musician today, music wasn’t always the plan. It was always a lingering passion yet she always kept it below the surface. After high school, Dana studied International Relations followed by a degree in Gemology in London. Then she attempted to take on the family business, everything changed once she gave birth to her daughter, Layla. She realized that she didn’t want to live an inauthentic life and wanted her daughter to be inspired by a mother who is in touch with herself and her true passion. Layla acted as the tipping point and source of inspiration for Dana to listen to her inner voice and begin pursuing her love for music. That was how it all started with her first album ‘Paint’ released in 2013.
Words to describe Dana’s music include cathartic, cosmic, powerful and other-worldly. When you listen to her songs, you can’t help but envision a time-lapse of a night sky or even the Northern Lights. Her songs impact all your senses. With her latest album ‘Indigo’, Dana plays around with the concept of color and its psychological and sensorial impact on her audience, with each song focusing on one specific color:
Each piece was composed in a color scheme to capture a mood and a state of beingDana Al Fardan Via llqlifestyle
With the song ‘Onyx’ inspired by the energy given off by a stone of the same name, Dana plays around with the clashing of light and darkness and their energy. Throughout the video, you’ll see sudden flashes of white followed by darkness. Coupled with the backing of rich strings, listeners will feel an internal sense of energy building up within, especially mirroring the pulsating beat and visual fluctuation of light to dark emanating throughout the song.
An Exceptional Composer
Inspired by the likes of legends like Antonio Vivaldi, an Italian composer, she was able to create compositions across many mediums from film to theatre. With cinema, she composed the music for the 2018 horror flick, the Necromancer as well as other productions. Her compositions also literally took it to the skies as she partnered with Qatar Airways, becoming the airline’s official composer. If you ever board a Qatar Airways flight, be sure to listen to their boarding music as that is Dana’s very own composition aptly titled ‘Sky’.
Other than her cinematic and commercial influence, her most noteworthy work was when she entered into the world of Broadway. Making her musical debut August 2018 at London’s Theatre Royal Haymarket, her co-written musical with Nadin Namaan titled ‘Broken Wings’, inspired by Lebanon’s Kahlil Gibran’s book of the same name, made it to a sold-out stage. It sheds light onto 20th Century Lebanon through the eyes of Gibran and includes social struggles at that time like immigration. Dana’s work acts as a gateway between East and West. With this musical, Western audiences get to learn about prominent figures in the Arab World like Gibran, his story and his adoration of Lebanon.
As an Arab artist I feel that it is my duty is to export the richness of Arab heritage in the stories that I tell, and to do so in a manner that translates to an international audience without losing, of course, any of the defining features of Arab identity.Dana Al Fardan Via Fashion Trust Arabia
A Proud Arab
To Dana, her Arab heritage is an essential facet of her identity. She cares about showcasing the Arab world in an accurate light as she has already done with the Broken Wings Musical. During an interview with Fashion Trust Arabia, she expressed how she wants to erase how the Arab world is currently seen and represented. She stated that the Arab world is currently viewed as a large homogenous entity with no variety. Through her work, she wants to showcase all the shades and flavors existing in Arab culture and its people.
Similar to artists like Moroccan-Canadian Faouzia, Dana grew up listening to Arab legends like Fairuz and today, is inspired by artists like Ilham Al-Madfai playing on repeat on her phone. She also uses her Arab heritage as a platform for activism. Through her role as the Cultural Ambassador for the Qatari philharmonic Orchestra, she volunteered with entities like the Qatar Red Crescent Society to develop a campaign called “Hope for Gaza”. In it, Dana belts out a powerful song in Arabic as the camera depicts scenes from Palestine and its people all in an effort to encourage international viewers to support Palestinians during Ramadan by donating food.
A Devoted Mother
Other than her career and her role in activism, Dana is also a loving mother. Their relationship is quite special, from her Instagram and Twitter bio alone where she introduces herself as ‘Composer, Singer, Songwriter & Layla’s Mom’ you can easily note the significance of Layla in Dana’s life. As Layla also shares her mother’s beautiful vocal chops, you can see her in a lot of Dana’s posts, singing at shows or at home on their piano. Dana is definitely proud and is supporting her daughter’s talent.
The mother daughterduo even made a TikTok account together calling it @layla_dana, making their adorable debut on 27 December 2021.
As a mother, Dana will be a source of inspiration for many women and mothers alike to pursue their passion and tap into their inner voice.
As a multi-talented artist capable of bridging the gap between the East and West, Dana’s work is not only a source of entertainment, but also a conduit through which the authentic Arab voice can be expressed and shared with the world.
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