New 2022 World Cup anthem features Emirati singer Balqees


Qatar’s latest official World Cup anthem has an Emirati twist.

Released on Friday Light up the sky features Emirati-Yemeni artist Balqees and is produced by RedOne, a Grammy Award-winning Moroccan-Swedish producer who lives in Dubai.

As the tournament’s executive entertainment director, RedOne – real name Nadir Khayat – has been responsible for all three official titles released so far.

The eclectic songs are in different languages ​​ranging from English and Arabic to French and Spanish, all reflecting the excitement and community spirit that the Qatar World Cup hopes to inspire when it kicks off. November 20.

Here, The National take a closer look – and listen – for all three.

1. “Light up the sky”

The final track is the kind of euphoric dance pop that RedOne specializes in.

Light up the sky is all about setting a party mood and comes with the kind of loud, easy-to-sing chorus suited for stadiums packed with international fans.

Sadly, the verses – while competently sung – are forgettable and don’t quite live up to the competition at hand.

Balqees encourages us to party ‘like a VIP’, Iraqi singer Rahma Riad urges us to ‘open our hearts and let our love flow’, while Moroccan Nora Fatehi references the 16th century astronomer Galileo when she encourages us to aim for the stars.

The World Cup vibes really come into play in the accompanying videofeaturing the trio performing outside Lusail Stadium.

2. ‘Hayya Hayya’ (Better Together)

Released in April, the first World Cup anthem is a beautiful fusion of styles and cultures.

Qatari singer Aisha joins forces with Nigerian Afro-pop star Davido and American singer Trinidad Cardona for this ode to unity.

Powered by Khaleeji percussion and a reggae groove, all the singers delivered a charismatic performance.

More than the lively choir, Hayya Hayya (Better Together) has the kind of earworm tune that will stick in our heads – for better or worse – through the tournament.

The clip also contains a strong local flavor with scenes shot in the Qatar desert and the Doha corniche.

3. ‘Arbo’

Released in August, it’s another deft mix of cultures with Puerto Rican reggaeton star Ozuna teaming up with French hip-hop artist Gims for this club-ready track.

Sung in Spanish, French and English with a gripping Arabic vocal loop in the chorus, this banger is about building bridges and putting aside differences.

It also shows that Ozuna and Gims should team up more, with the former’s silky vocals pairing well with Gims’ uncompromising booming tenor.

RedOne once again shows off their pedigree with another heady fusion of Latin pop, Afro-pop and Khaleeji sounds.

Whether we hear it in a stadium or a club, Arbo is a winner.

Updated: October 07, 2022, 12:12 p.m.

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