AR Rahman’s ALL-FEMALE Orchestra Based In Dubai: Here’s What You Need to Know
Masala Talks

AR Rahman’s ALL-FEMALE Orchestra Based In Dubai: Here’s What You Need to Know

The Oscar and Grammy award-winning music composer will be mentoring the Firdaus Orchestra that is the highlight of the spectacular studio that is part of Expo 2020

‘Music has the power of healing, it knows no boundaries’…  it’s a line we have heard a million times but when it comes from double Oscar and double Grammy award winner AR Rahman, it acquires a whole new meaning. The maestro, whose compositions have won him fans from all over the world and has been the true musical bridge between the East and West, Bollywood, Tollywood and Hollywood, has been at the receiving end of social media ire in recent times – from his mildly political comments on certain issues to the recent trolling his daughter received for wearing the niqab – the increased religious intolerance has not left him untouched either. But instead of returning hate with harsh words, he is back to doing what he does best – bringing the world together with music. And this time his chosen destination is Dubai, UAE that celebrates tolerance in the truest sense of the word.

AR Rahman has something very special planned up in conjunction with Expo 2020, the much-awaited show that begins this October. The project includes a state-of-the-art music recording studio, titled the Firdaus studio at the Expo site and its biggest attraction is the new women-only orchestra that will perform at the Expo.

The Firdaus Women’s Orchestra is unique for more reasons than one. The name, for instance, means Paradise in Arabic. As mentioned above, this will be led by women power and Rahman is heading a nation-wide talent hunt for artistes to be part of the orchestra. The musicians will be mentored by Rahman himself and some original compositions will also be part of the offerings. The criteria to be part of the group?  ‘You have to be insanely talented musically,’ he laughs.

“Feminine power is at the core of everything,” Rahman tells Masala! in an exclusive chat. “The feminine energy is very different and powerful. Also, this is an opportunity to showcase a new side to the region and its women.”

Here is an exclusive interview with the composer himself as he shares his vision with

Rahman adds he was roped into the project by his good friend, director  Shekhar Kapoor who mooted the idea of setting up a spectacular studio at the Expo Site. Work began six months ago and Rahman has been in the thick of it all. Apparently, around three designs were presented and changed before the final one got approved. The studio is finally shaping up the way he’s visualised it. Incidentally, the studio will be functional even after the Expo is over in April 2021.

Rahman has great plans for it with the possibility of even getting international artistes down for recording their work. “Why not? If somebody like a Katy Perry or a Lady Gaga wants to work on a new project, this place would be open to them all,” he says adding that the studio represents the inclusive, tolerant and talented vision that the rulers of the UAE promotes. 

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