Marking the UAE Union Day, music maestro AR Rahman and a 52-member all-female Firdaus Orchestra paid a special tribute to UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, at a hospital in Abu Dhabi.

Titled ‘Singing for the Children of Zayed’, the concert at Burjeel Medical City’s circular atrium paid homage to the teachings of the visionary leader, who believed children were the real wealth and strength of the country.

In a touching moment, as the all-female orchestra began the melodic evening with an inspiring performance of the national anthem ‘Ishy Bilady’, a giant glass pendulum at the atrium started drawing a portrait of Sheikh Zayed. The orchestra was guided by conductor Monica Woodman with musicians performing from two floors of the hospital while enthralling patients, healthcare professionals, and visitors.

Watch the national anthem performance below:

“Firdaus Orchestra is an attempt to have an original entity from Expo City, Dubai. They are the pride of the UAE,” Rahman, the Oscar and Grammy-Award-winning musician, said about Dubai’s Firdaus Orchestra, which is mentored by him and supported by Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation.

After a powerful rendition of the national anthem, the musicians performed a specially curated list of songs, including Danse, Baroque Flamenco, Ouarzazate, Ecstasy of Gold, and Spirit of Rangeela.

The musical treat by a diverse and talented bunch of musicians mesmerised patients.

“Amid challenging times, this musical celebration was a source of solace and inspiration. It was a healing experience, reminding me of our shared humanity and the strength in our community,” Abdul Rahman, a patient, said.

Omar, a teenager recovering from injuries suffered during the Syrian earthquake, was among the patients enjoying the music as patriotic fervour hit its peak.

New video for hope, peace

On the sidelines of the event, Rahman announced his upcoming song, a collaborative effort with Burjeel Holdings, dedicated to the UAE.

“The whole idea is to create a song of hope for Burjeel Holdings. This is a song for the UAE to honour everyone who is selflessly working. The world needs hope today. I hope the song brings peace, understanding, and joy. My prayers to all the people who need to get healed in this hospital,” Rahman added.

By the time the concert was over, a glowing golden portrait of Sheikh Zayed was complete in all its glory.

Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, founder and chairman of Burjeel Holdings, noted: “We want to thank the leaders of this country for giving us a chance to serve the people of this great country. We stand tall in this dome without forgetting the Covid-19 heroes and martyrs of this country.”

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