Sunny with Occasional Rain
The Dubai Creek in the old part of town was historically the hub of life and survival for the young Emirate, as the graceful, hard working Arabic dhows plied the trade routes backwards and forwards around the seas of the Middle East and Asia. my first residence, unaptly named Al Hamrya Palace apartments, was a small one bed adjoining the creek where in the early days I spent many hours, wandering, thinking and getting to know the local surrounds. The dhows which before would have freighted spices and dates now were laden with TVs and refrigerators yet the bustling, traditional and multicolored energy of the creek was a restorative to my uncertain moods. I was still not certain of my future plans, wrestling with a failing marriage, unsettled with one foot still in England, trying to determine a finite direction. my half century celebration was not far off. I needed to make a decision, stay or move on.
I was working out of my old friend Marwan Rahbani’s studio, which was a blessing, even though the studio was poorly equipped and the charming young sound engineer was very inexperienced. there was, however, something strangely exciting about having to make things work in an old fashioned way. it was London in 1980 all over again. i was being challenged with some complicated music compositions that required very accurate synchronization without the digital methodology or the sound resources at my disposal. i had enormous respect for Marwan as a musician but he was used to working with live orchestras not with synthesized or sampled sounds. Yet going back to the outdated way of working with a metronome and annotating the points of emphasis on manuscript paper was great fun. A new lease of life. i was starting to feel at home, settling in, no urge to move as yet. my clients from before were feeding me business and I was discovering slowly the mechanics of the production business in the Middle East. Fortunately, I already was very well informed about the vagaries of copyright in this region. There was no licensing body and therefore no means of royalty collection from broadcasters, so there was, in effect, no implementation of licensing, which meant that a music work was to all intents and purposes ‘sold’ to the commissioner indefinitely for the fee paid to the composer. The practice extended throughout the Middle East music industry. songs for cash, like a carpet in the souk. from my point if view I needed to consider this very carefully with regard to my future. The implication was evident. in order to build a future, I would need to build a serious audio business because I would never be able to rely on royalties as a composer to help in the lean times. this would require time, money, people and passion. was I ready for this? was Dubai ready for this? it was a critical decision I now had to make.
Sunny with Occasional Rain
Sunny with Occasional Rain is a blog series written by BKP Media Group CEO, Barry Kirsch, highlighting moments from his intriguing career.