Eman AlHashimi at the piano.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Eman AlHashimi is the first UAE female composer in orchestra and music soundtrack; she is also a pianist, painter, poet, scenarist and an international certified life coach, with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management and a Master’s degree in Communications and Strategic Public Relations.
As a writer, AlHashimi has published six books so far. The list of her achievements will fill more pages than this page. But here is a short list: she is the first pianist to play at the “World Music Day” hosted in UAE (2000); the first pianist to represent the UAE abroad in Italy at “Expo Milan 2015”; the first Emirati female to compose a melody using military instruments, under the title “Martyr”; the first pianist to compose and write lyrics for an Operette for the “Year of Zayed” and “Mother of Nation.”
The first Emirati female composer to incorporate her music as a soundtrack in a movie; the first Emirati pianist to perform at the Louvre Abu Dhabi; the first female Emirati to establish a music band — Eman Al Emarat — and the “UAE Pioneers Musicians”; the first female composer to be a judge in a talent show; the first musician who played solo at the first hosting of the International Telecommunication Union conference in the UAE; the first female composer to play her music on radio and TV; the first composer to be included in the Encyclopedia of Emirati Women; the first female composer to win the prize for the best music composer in the UAE (2018); the first composer to mix Indian traditional music and local/UAE music (at the opening of Zayed-Gandhi Museum, Abu Dhabi); the first female to publish a book on music history (2019); the first composer to compose a melody for #Emirates_Mars_Mission 2020 and the first life coach to offer self-development workshops via her musical compositions.
AlHashimi composes her answers for Gulf Today
Why did you choose to become a music composer?
Honestly, I did not choose to be a musician, but in fact Music has chosen me ... as I hear it within me all the time. It helped me to express everything about everything — and that makes it a crucial part of me; and that is why we can’t be separated.
Why is the piano your favourite instrument?
I love all music instruments, but piano is the mother of them all, and I feel that piano gives me a huge HUG every time I lay my fingers on it.
Writing music or playing music — which gives you more satisfaction?They are both the same, as the music plays in my head in all cases. Even when I listen to it, I feel the same. However, playing physically makes me interact directly with the instrument. It is the thing that makes me feel that we are one and that the piano is a living being who talks to me via my fingers.
Do you use Arabic instruments — like the oud, for example — in your compositions?
I believe that music is one language and all instruments are just different accents; so, indeed, I use any instrument that fits with my composition - noting that I am an orchestra composer, which means that one instrument cannot be enough.
Are you influenced more by Western music or Arabic music? Or both in equal parts?
I never tend to treat music by its origin; I just like whatever my emotions lead me to, regardless of any other aspects. A real artist should love art for itself: not from where it came from.
How different is playing overseas and in the UAE?
It is an honour to represent my country overseas and a huge responsibility, too. But to be honest with you, nothing compares it with playing before my people, because I consider all UAE people and residents part of my own family, and they deserve to hear my music, in the first place.
What is your book on music called? What are its contents?
Thank you for this question. My book is called Emanstro, which is a combination between my name (Eman) and (Maestro). It talks about all the greatest musicians of all time. I have managed them in different categories based on eras, to make it easier and more understandable. There will be Part 2 and Part 3 or even more, to make it a full encyclopedia for musicians.
How is being a life coach related to your music?
Music itself is a healer of body and soul. It helps me to change into a better person. When you merge it with real education, the results would be awesome, more effective, and efficient.
How do you find your musical inspiration?
Life is my greatest inspiration! I see people around me and what goes around in the world and then I make my own words with music, without the need to speak.
I mean, we speak using our tongues, but our souls speak music, by nature. For example, the rhythm of your heartbeats and the blood running in your veins, not forgetting the sound of your breathing.
Who are the musicians who have influenced you?
As I said earlier, I always tend to hear the music itself, regardless of the composer or the origin. But in this case, I can say all of them have influenced me — whether to follow their steps or to avoid their mistakes. So I have learned from all.
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