On the illustrious night of November 11, the vibrant echoes of Punjabi pop resonated through the grand halls of the Dubai Opera House, as the renowned singer Ali Sethi graced the stage.

Jet-lagged but exuberant, Sethi, the melodious voice behind the Coke Studio hit “Pasoori,” had traveled from New York to Dubai for this special performance.

In an exclusive interview with City Times, he shared his excitement about the privilege of performing at such a prestigious venue.

Despite the fatigue from a long-haul flight, Sethi couldn’t hide his joy at soaking in the lively atmosphere of Dubai.

“I’m feeling very jet-lagged,” he confessed, “and I’m eating all the Middle Eastern food that I can find. I love the energy here.” Dubai, with its vibrant nights and diverse culinary offerings, seemed to have cast its spell on the Pasoori crooner.

Ali Sethi catapulted to stardom with the release of “Pasoori,” a collaboration with Shae Gill on Coke Studio. The song quickly became a global anthem, propelling Sethi into the international music scene.

Despite having performed in Dubai multiple times before, this particular visit held a special place in his heart.

The stands as a beacon of cultural significance, and Sethi acknowledged the honor of being part of its prestigious season. Expressing his awe, he remarked, “The space itself, the venue, the institution, what it means to be listed on their season is incredibly exciting.”

Sharing the season lineup with artists like Tinariwen, a Tuareg collective from Mali, Sethi marveled at the eclectic context within which his music was now placed.

As Sethi enjoyed a delicious Iranian meal during the interview, he spoke warmly of his limited exploration of Dubai. What captivated him most was the city’s energy and laid-back vibe.

“I love sitting here, smoking sheesha, eating kebab, drinking coffee. I love the vibe here,” he shared, drawing a relaxed parallel between Dubai and the bustling streets of New York.

Delving into the dynamics of fan interactions, the singer expressed gratitude for his recent acquisition of US citizenship, enabling smoother mobility.

Reflecting on the global nature of his audience, he noted, “Dubai can be a hub and an in-between ground where people can meet and work from all over the world.”

Sethi envisioned Dubai not just as a performance destination but as a hub for content creation, connecting diverse parts of the world through streaming, narrative, music, writing, and art.

When asked about the difference between audiences in Pakistan and the diaspora, particularly in the USA and UAE, Sethi passionately praised the openness of diaspora audiences.

Recounting a recent show in Atlanta, Georgia, he marveled at the diverse crowd—intergenerational and multi-racial—that fueled an electric atmosphere.

This, he believed, inspired him to push the boundaries of representation and explore the intersections between his musical roots and the global soundscape, creating an environment that thrives on excitement and diversity.

 

 

Last Updated: 28 November 2023