Grammy Award-winning mega producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins is in Dubai for a 24 hour interactive recording session/collaboration with Palestinian superstar Mohammed Assaf to create a song for Assaf’s performance at the opening ceremony of the 64th FIFA Congress in Brazil next week, by crowd-sourcing content from fans online. The event, hosted by Platinum records, is being live streamed to fans all over the world and is happening now.
I took some of these screenshots seconds ago, it’s a blast watching Assaf work because he switches from serious to laughing in seconds, clearly enjoying himself. And when he gets it right there’s pure joy. It’s so fun to watch.
Produced by Platinum Records the song will be an energetic cross-over fusion in an international football spirit of hope, coming together and hopefully, unite the world. Taymoor Marmarchi, head of Platinum Records said he wanted to “shake things up.” They’ve been planning this production the last 3 months, and Marmarchi is “thrilled to have the amazing hit-producer Rodney Jerkins leading the music for this one-of-a-kind fusion with our fantastic Artist Assaf. ”
Mohammed Assaf will be the first Arab singer to ever perform at a global FIFA opening ceremony.
Gulf News Mohammad Assaf makes Fifa magic in Dubai:
“Some journalists asked me — have you really not prepared anything in advance for today? I told them, you’ll see with your own eyes — we haven’t prepared anything,” Assaf told tabloid!. “We started on the rhythm this morning … We wanna do a song that brings across the sporty spirit, the energy behind that.”
Fans and followers have been sending in their ideas for lyrics on Twitter using the hashtag #Assaf360.
Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, has worked with music legends such as Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Lady Gaga. Gulf News reports:
Jerkins, who had only slept one hour due to jet lag and was up at 4am singing melodies to himself, said he was in awe of Assaf’s voice and planned to make the most of it.
“You gotta think about the stadium, you gotta think about [the chanting and clapping of the crowd]. I’ve been saying the word ‘yallah!’ a lot, which means ‘lets go’, so I’m thinking that ‘yallah’ is going to be the [song’s] big chant part.”
“I love playing football — I think boys tend to lean towards that,” he said, flashing a smile. “Even though I sing, I’ve always been interested in it and I watch all the different tournaments in Spain, Germany and England. It’s a universal language.”
This is an exciting time, coming on the heels of Palestine’s National Football team winning an historic victory last Friday at the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup final. What a great combination, Mohammed Assaf, Rodney Jerkins, and football.
All proceeds from the song will go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees (Update: purchase here). And if you have yet to see Assaf’s hit Ya Halali Ya Mali filmed at Bouroj -Barajneh Refugee Camp in Beirut, he takes it to a whole new level:
It’s history in the making and so much fun to watch live.
(h/t Chris @ IMEU)
(Previous Mohammed Assaf coverage on Mondoweiss available here)