Dubai metro stations come alive with the sound of music

In many countries, it is a common sight, but when musicians began playing their instruments at a Dubai metro station, surprised commuters stopped to take photos of the rare performances. The emirate is known among its residents for its pristine streets and impeccably clean metro stations — where commuters can be fined for chewing gum, or even drinking water, on a train.

Khadija, 19, played her guitar, as passers-by listened intently She was performing as part of the week-long Dubai Metro Music Festival taking place across five stations. “I am very happy because they chose me, and I am proud to be an Emirati doing this here,” she said. She played the guitar continuously and only took her eyes off her fingers once to readjust her thin black veil.

Twenty-five musicians from different countries — including Portugal, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon — are participating in the festival that ends on Saturday.

Using glass for music

While some musicians were playing traditional instruments, others were using more creative methods, such as glass and old typewriters. Organisers said the goal was to “break that routine” of the daily commuters. “Music spreads happiness and positivity to regular metro commuters or visitors,” said Shaima Alsuwaidi, a manager at Brand Dubai, an arm of the Dubai government’s media office.

Dubai welcomed last year a record 15.9 million tourists. The city-state aims to attract 20 million visitors annually by the time it hosts the six-month global trade fair Expo 2020.


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