Have you heard of The Doha Band or seen them perform live in Qatar? If not, we'd like to introduce to you this 5-piece band that has been playing music in Qatar for a decade now and has recently released its first original single called "Song for All."
The Doha Band is composed of Gala Borisova (vocals), Vladislav Marinov aka. Jack (guitar and vocals), Nigel D'Souza (guitar and vocals), Svetoslav Kazakov aka. Jimmy (bass and vocals) and Animesh Das (drums). Gala and Jack started The Doha Band in 2011 with the intent of expanding and sharing their love for music with like-minded performers. The two have been working together since 1999 as a duet or part of different formations.
According to Gala, the original formation was 4-piece with Jack on the guitar, Jimmy on bass, herself on vocals, and Steve Shoebridge on the drums, who unfortunately had to leave Qatar for good in 2015. "For 2 years we also had Christopher Santiago on keyboards who left shortly after Steve. Even though they are no longer with us I would like to honor them and recognize their input in creating the band as it is today. We have never been just a band, we are a family! In 2017 we welcomed 2 new members who are part of it today – Mesh on drums and Nigel on guitar and vocals," added Gala.
The ILoveQatar.net (ILQ) team got in touch with The Doha Band to learn more about their journey. Get to know them better here!
Gala: Our name is often connected with Gala Entertainment, an agency which 2 of our members founded in 2015 with the aim to support and promote local talents.
Before the pandemic, Gala Entertainment was working with 90% of the best artists in Qatar. It ran Acoustic Nights and the Gala Entertainment Hub at Mix Bar, The Westin Doha for almost 2 years where it established the only one of its kind venue in Qatar hosting a variety of live music acts and DJs 7 days a week. It also supplied musicians on an occasional basis for many of the big hotels and resorts. So our focus is not only on developing our own band but also on developing the whole music scene in Qatar and we often collaborate with other artists.
But if we are talking solely about The Doha Band, one of the things which probably stands out the most is that we are actually 4 vocalists which help us to add harmonies and cover more artists. Our repertoire is quite versatile, we don’t stick to one style and stretch from jazz through blues, soul, reggae, pop, and rock to metal, this allows us to perform for different audiences and events.
We are pretty much a chameleon in that way. We were also the first band in Qatar that played metal live in public, widely unpopular before that. On a funnier note, we have the tallest guitar player in the Middle East with the smallest guitar and may as well change our name to The Bulgarian Band as we have 3 Bulgarians… from the same city. Oh, and we have 2 DJs!
video credit: The Doha Band
Gala: It’s called “Song for All”. It was written by Jimmy, our bass player and it’s entirely in-house production. Everything from creating, recording, and mastering to producing the song was our effort. It is available on all platforms so you can check it out on YouTube, Spotify, or iTunes.
Luckily for us, the song was very well received and strongly supported by the local and international media. QBS Radio played it hourly for about 3 weeks after its release, for which we are very grateful! Thank you QBS! It was also featured on the French Channel – Oryx FM as well as the Filipino - Qabayan Radio.
Gala: Created and recorded during the global pandemic the song aims to lift up and motivate the people around the world and especially our fellow musicians who for over a year have lived without live music.
It is not easy to have your emotional and mental outlet taken away and for some, it is also their main source of income. With this song we want to say we see you, we hear you, we are all together in this and we shall overcome!
Nigel: I was born here and have always loved music, especially rock and metal. I started playing guitar and formed a band with a classmate in the early 2000s. It was called “Green Color Thing”, we played mainly reggae and rock. I joined The Doha Band in 2017 but have seen Jack and Gala performing over the years prior to that.
Jimmy: I came to Qatar in 1995 as a musician for Sheraton Resort and later was a DJ at Sofitel Hotel for 4 years. In 2002, I wrote the first song for Qatar in English called “This is Qatar”. It was included in the program for a Walltrade Organization event and was later released on CD by Ali Abdulsatar’s Company. I am with The Doha Band since the beginning.
Jack: I play guitar since I can remember. After coming to Qatar in 2004 I joined “United Rhythm” and in 2011 we formed The Doha Band. We’ve been playing covers for years but are now working on original songs and this is what makes me truly happy!
Mesh: I’m Mesh from Bangladesh, came to Qatar in 2011. Since the time I was young, I was attracted to music, could sit and listen for hours. Luckily, I got the chance to play with The Doha Band after an online interview. What’s funny is that my audition with them was actually a proper gig at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, this is where we first met face to face. I joined them in 2017.
Gala: Like the others, my love for music was as it seems born with me, my mom says that I started singing before talking and walking. Growing up during the 90s in a post-communist country wasn’t easy so music became my outlet and my haven, it is to this day. Came to Qatar with Jack as a performer in 2004 for, what is funny, 3 months, stayed 17 years and counting. It’s home now!
Gala: Well, we are 3 generations in the band so our tastes in music differ but what unites us all is our love for the 80s and 90s rock and 90s metal. The one band we all like is Iron Maiden and from there we branch out to Bob Marley, Sade, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Toto, Chicago, UK, Bon Jovi, AC DC, Nirvana, Metallica even Psychedelic Trance. Our influences are broad hence we cover many styles in our repertoire.
Gala: We are 3 songwriters (with 1 on the way) in the band and the creative process is different for all of us but we won’t be wrong if we say – life. Life is our inspiration, with the good, the bad, and the funny.
Gala: We’ve performed pretty much everywhere in Qatar over the years from private events and bars to corporate gala dinners and festivals but we all agree that the Amy Winehouse Tribute and The Rockaway Beach festival are our favorite so far. And the little tour we did in Bulgaria a few years ago. It was fun!
Gala: We have 2 new singles which should be released by the end of the year and have another bigger project on the way but we’ll keep it as a surprise for now. Hopefully, we’ll be able to share more information soon so follow us for updates.
Gala: The venue doesn’t matter as long as the people in front of us sing along and enjoy the music with us, that’s the most gratifying feeling.
Jack: Just thank you!
Jimmy: And subscribe to our YouTube Channel and social media it means a lot to us!
Nigel: Thank you for the name of the band.
Gala: Keep supporting live music and the local artists and thank you for 10 continuous years of music! Rock and Love!
Cover image credit: The Doha Band
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