Sami Yusuf on his Expo 2020 Dubai concert: ‘It will impress all who watch’

The British musician says the eclectic show reflects the spirit of the UAE

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 25 APRIL 2019. Sami Yusuf performing at Emirates Palace. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: None. Section: National.

Sami Yusuf is bringing his latest concert to Expo 2020 Dubai.

Speaking ahead of his two shows at Al Wasl Plaza on Friday and Saturday, the British spiritual singer and composer said the new production, Beyond the Stars, is an eclectic work exemplifying the spirit of both the UAE and Expo.

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“We’ve been working on it for a while now, with an amazing and talented team," he said.

"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.”

With both concerts free to access with an Expo day pass, here are three things to know about Beyond the Stars.

1. Yusuf will sing in various languages

Yusuf’s global appeal is down to work that respectfully embodies various musical and literary traditions, with songs sung in English, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Turkish and Urdu, among other languages.

With Expo a hub of multiculturalism, each eclectic song should go down a treat.

"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,” he said.

“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.”

2. The music is a natural fit with Expo

All the songs being performed will tell a wider story about the UAE and the world at large, Yusuf said.

“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.”

3. He will offer more than the greatest hits

With more than 30 million albums sold and a string of hits to his name, including Al Mu'allim and My Ummah, Yusuf is coy when asked if Beyond the Stars features some of his most popular tracks.

Regardless, with new songs to debut as part of the concert, he is positive the performance will leave a lasting impression with the audience.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Sami Yusuf will perform at Expo 2020 Dubai's Al Wasl Plaza on Friday and Saturday from 8.30pm. Free with an Expo day pass. More information is available at expo2020dubai.com

Updated: October 22nd 2021, 4:59 AM