Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 November 2020

'It feels good to be bang in the middle of the Middle East': Coldplay honours Arabic in Amman with 'Bani Adam'

The band debuted their album 'Everyday Life' live on YouTube from Amman's citadel at sunset on Friday, November 22

Coldplay performed live in Jordan for the first time ever on Friday, with both a sunrise and sunset performance streamed live on YouTube to mark the release of both halves of their album Everyday Life.

The band performed from atop Amman's ancient citadel, and in the sunset performance they played the song Bani Adam.

The song's title is written on the album list in Arabic script, and after a long piano solo by Martin during the Amman set, a female singer joins the band to recite words in Arabic that are clearly inspired by the poem Bani Adam by Iranian poet Saadi Shirazi. Loosely translated, she reads:

"The sons of Adam are one body and one organ. If one organ in this body feels pain, the other organs do not sleep / If a human does not feel for other humans, how are they called sons of Adam?". Read the full Bani Adam poem here.

See Bani Adam performed from the 14-minute mark here:

While in the Amman performance the vocals in the Bani Adam song are performed in Arabic, in the studio album, the words inspired by Shirazi are recited in Farsi.

Another particularly rousing moment during the sunset performance saw the band surrounded by a group of young people from Amman at the end of Orphans:

While there weren't many spectators close to them during the performance, Martin said they chose to perform the logistically difficult set in 'the middle of the Middle East' because the region doesn't see enough big touring bands.

"There's an easy route you can keep taking if you're a big touring band, and it avoids amazing places because of mechanics and budgets... so given that we're not touring this record, we thought, where is the place in the middle of the biggest region where we never really get to play? That happened to be Jordan."

Chris Martin singing from the top of the citadel in Amman: "It feels good for us to come bang in the middle of the Middle East because bands like us don't come here," he said. Instagram
Chris Martin singing from the top of the citadel in Amman. Instagram

"It feels good for us to come bang in the middle of the Middle East because bands like us don't come here," Martin said in a YouTube interview the day before the live sets.

The sunrise concert:

The band say that much of the ethos of the album is about countering the fear-based rhetoric seen in much of the world right now. "At the moment, it seems a whole portion of the world is fed this terrified vision of 'otherness'... I think that, in our own small way, we are really rallying against that viewpoint," Martin said.

The below video shows the band just after the well-orchestrated live sunset video ended, with the band's manager Phil Harvey writing, "We will never forget the moment the last slither of setting sun disappeared as Chris sang the final Hallelujah of Everyday Life.

"From below us, floating across the city, there was a distant but mighty cheer. It was these amazing fans who were waiting and listening down at the base of the citadel."

Updated: November 24, 2019 05:34 PM

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