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Posted On: 26 July 2018 12:24 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:00 pm

Dana Al Fardan’s new musical Broken Wings set to premiere in London

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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Qatar’s only female contemporary composer, Dana Al Fardan has composed a new masterpiece for the musical Broken Wings in collaboration with West End Star Nadim Naaman. Broken Wings is set to launch in London at Theatre Royal Haymarket from August 1 – 4, 2018. It is a tale of tragic love, based on a poetic novel by Khalil Gibran which was first published in Arabic in 1912.

In an exclusive interview with ILQ, Dana Al Fardan shares about her career as a music composer as well as upcoming performances. .

ILQ: Broken Wings is set to launch in London at Theatre Royal Haymarket from August 1- 4, 2018. How excited are you for that?

Dana Al Fardan: The reason I decided to pursue music in the first place was to write a musical, so when I was asked to collaborate with a West End star to compose the music for a brand new musical based on one of the most prolific Middle Eastern writers of all time and watch it unfold in the prestigious Haymarket Theatre with a cast of top West End actors, it was a dream come true. Now with less than one week left to go, it feels incredibly surreal.

ILQ: What kind of story did you want to tell through Broken Wings? Tell us a little more about the inspiration behind this musical.

Dana Al Fardan: We always wanted to tell the story of Khalil Gibran - the man behind the mystery, rather than providing another presentation of his work. In the initial conversations about Gibran and the musical, we were trying to figure out how to highlight his personal experiences as we realized that although he is the third highest selling poet of all time, he is massively under represented in popular culture because there is a little engagement with the human element. We wanted to capture who he was as a person and the different influences that led to the development of his perspective on life. So we were thrilled when we found a book that contained all of that. It’s a short read but it’s profound in its scope and it’s incredibly rich in its layers.

Dana Al Fardan's musical show in London

We also felt that it was the context upon which the framework of his most famous book “The Prophet” was later created. So in act two of the musical we inset a song called “Spirit of the Sun” which is a summary of The Prophet. In the context of Broken Wings, the thoughts and wisdom in The Prophet are represented by the voice of Khalil Gibran’s mother, providing her son with some bearings to navigate the often harsh and ever changing tides of life. In the musical, her voice appears to him in his thoughts when he feels that he has or is about to lose everything he holds dear.

ILQ: How does it feel to perform on an international platform as a first female English artist coming from Qatar?

Dana Al Fardan: It feels thrilling and incredibly exciting to have my work internationally recognized. This is what I have aspired to my whole life, but what really matters is what happens after closing night. The objective is for us to get this show to tour the world, and then to have a long run in the West End, so wish me luck!

Dana Al Fardan

ILQ: How would you describe your style of music?

Dana Al Fardan: My style of music is quite varied and I enjoy exploring new avenues to express my work which is simply a body of inspiration that comes from all around me and is translated as music from within. That does not conform to a particular sound that characterizes all of my music. Having said that, as an Arabic artist, there is very often a reference to Arabic heritage in the sound. In Broken wings, we use instrumentation to reflect Khalil Gibran’s Arab roots and a more classical orchestral arrangement to represent the universal quality and global impact of his work. The main challenge was to accomplish that as well as making sure it sounded current and relevant to a modern audience

ILQ: What are the major challenges you have faced in pursuing your career?

Dana Al Fardan: Like all artists everywhere the major challenge I face in my career is funding. The sky is the limit artistically but availability of funds and support from organizations connected to the arts are the only major constraints to growth. Also, although music is not historically relevant to Qatar’s economic growth, the 2030 vision to transition to a knowledge based economy, means that creating original content is becoming increasingly relevant here. Hence Qatar has invested massively in providing resources to create the highest quality content in music; such as Katara Studios and the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. The challenge in the meantime is that we do not currently have an infrastructure to support the commercial exploit of music. Basically you can create music but there are no avenues to diffuse the work through the market and gain revenues through royalties.

Dana Al Fardan

The good news is that there is a drive within Qatar to create an ecosystem that is supportive to artists so that eventually artists can create sustainable careers out of their work. All the figures surrounding the music industry in Qatar are highly supportive and genuinely passionate about creating a sustainable music industry. So it’s all just a matter of time, but until then my advise to aspiring artists is to carefully manage their flow of capital; make calculated decisions about putting their music out, and join international royalty collection societies so that they can be compensated for their work.

ILQ: Are you working on anything exciting at present? What are your future goals?

Dana Al Fardan: I am working on several film scores including one for a British film on the life of Jane Austen.

ILQ: What advice would you give to Arab women who wants to pursue a similar career path?

Dana Al Fardan: Let your passion for your work drive your career, always seek to better yourself and learn from others in the process. Surround yourself with support and the people you care about. Music is about inspiration, so don’t let the hustle and bustle of the industry divert your attention from your goals and your love for your art!

About the Musical


Itunes Downoad link :

Buy tickets for show from the theatre website:

ILQ readers can access tickets with discount from this link:

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