To celebrate the festive season, we called on some of Dubai’s best bands and asked them each to perform a Christmas song live in front of the cameras.
The results have been quite remarkable – from loud alt-rock reinterpretations of carols to delicate traditional harp pieces, and funked-up scratching DJ mixes to soulful piano jazz.
In total we rounded up 25 acts to create a very unique Dubai-flavoured Christmas playlist. Hear the whole thing here – or get a taste with ten of our favourite tunes below.
O Holy Night by Clarita de Quiroz
UAE-born Scottish singer, songwriter and model Clarita de Quiroz has been lighting up stages and catwalks across the UAE for some years now. Here we caught the singer in a more reflective mood, playing it subtle and soulful in this moving, piano-led and Mariah Carey-inspired take of this 19th Century carol.
Jingle Bell Rock by Juliana Down
The first UAE band to be signed to an international label, and with ten years of gigs across the region (and 25,000 Facebook fans), Juliana Down have a fair claim to being the biggest band in the emirates. Still, they were happy to whip out this chirpy ’50s festive fave for Time Out (and your listening pleasure).
Silver Bells by Point of View
Renowned for their floor-shaking riffs, squealing solos and grungey growls, we were impressed when award-winning rock band Point of View took us back to basics with this delicate Christmas classic, recorded up close and personal in guitarist Roydon’s front room.
All I Want for Christmas is You by Fatiniza
Columbian pop and rock singer Fatiniza is one of the most-recognisable musicians in the city, with two albums under her belt and a huge video hit in ‘Out of Control’. Here we caught her at home for a stripped back – but typically energetic – take of, yep, another Mariah Carey tune.
Feliz Navidad by Diego & Giselle
At the time of writing this quirky, this Flamenco-flavoured cover of José Feliciano’s multi-lingual Christmas cover was the most watched YouTube clip of all our festive covers. Have a listen to its breezy, upbeat delivery, taped at sundown with the the Burj Al Arab in the background, and it’s not hard to see why.
Do They Know Its Christmas? By the Dubai Vocal Ensemble and Melissa Le Rue
Here the first winner of The Score’s Choir of the Year competition team up with Dubai-based jazz-pop singer Melissa Le Rue for a heart-warming take of the Band Aid classic, taped live at The Fridge.
Funky Xmas Throwdown by Break DJ Lobito
Who would have thought we’d get the high-principled Deep Crates Cartel man to spin in front of the cameras, let alone don a santa costume to do? We can only presume it’s a disguise, but we’re grateful for the tunes nonetheless, with a bag of rare festive grooves scratched and juggled with ease.
God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen by Beat Antenna
Award-winning indie rock band Beat Antenna did some typically moody, obscure and inventive – by taking this 19th century Christmas carol and turning it upside down. In fact, this grungey alt-rock reading might be the most novel of all our Christmas covers. Either way, it rocks.
Fairytale of New York by Mike Ross and Paul Nolan
Two top acoustic pub troubadours teamed up for a heartfelt duet, deftly bringing this Pogues Christmas classic to life.
Last Christmas by the Wellington International School Choir
And the award for cutest video goes to the Wellington International School Choir. We defy even the stingiest of grinches not to be moved by this group of youngsters working through the Wham! classic. Enjoy!