Dana Al Fardan (born on July 29, 1985 in Doha, Qatar) is a Qatari composer and songwriter and the founder and CEO of DNA Records, the first record label to be established in Qatar.
Dana discovered her musical interests at an early age; she recalls that at around the age of eight she was distracted in school by her interest in composing a response to Beethoven’s celebrated ‘Fur Elise’. Since childhood, she has developed her music by experimenting with vocal interpretations of her own and others’ compositions, while noting that her enduring experience with music has remained the composition of melodies and lyrics.
Dana's first album 'Paint' (released as Dana) was composed during her pregnancy with daughter Layla, who inspired the name of the final song of the collection. Among other musicians, twelve string players from the London Metropolitan orchestra were employed by producer Tim Baxter to fulfil the vision for the album, which was mastered at Abbey Road studios. The release of 'Paint' in November 2013 marked the beginning of a period of more intense collaborative work through 2014 during which Dana continued work with a number of other musicians. In combination with her growing interest in the musical possibilities of Qatar and the Gulf region, this new period of collaboration also saw Dana set up Qatar’s first music label, DNA Records.
As a Qatari musician, Al Fardan has commented that, in her view, culture and heritage cannot be separated from the artistic process. Hoping to increase engagement and interaction with more musicians around the world, she has spoken of her hope to help establish a large-scale music festival in Qatar in order to set the scene for the growth of a serious music industry in the country. In 2016, Al Fardan released an orchestral album 'Layla' with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2017, Al Fardan released another orchestral album 'Sandstorm' where magnificent strings, soloists and choral vocals are blended with traditional Middle Eastern rhythms. Sandstorm was recorded at Katara Studios in Doha. On November 20, 2016, Sandstorm was performed in Concert by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra at Katara Opera House, and also for the UN Day Concert on the 24th of October, 2019. Moreover, after a visit to Moscow in 2017, Al Fardan's music was chosen to be performed in the city to celebrate the launch of the Qatar-Russia Year of Culture 2018 by both visiting members of the Qatar Philharmonic and Russian musicians.
One year later, in 2018, Al Fardan presented her sold out West End musical Broken Wings in the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London. Broken Wings was a musical adaptation of Khalil Gibran’s poetic novel, originally published in 1912. With this play, co-written and co-composed with Nadim Naaman, they wanted to showcase the rich Arab philosophy and literature of Khalil Gibran. It was directed by Bronagh Lagan, produced by Ali Matar with orchestrations by Joe Davison. Broken Wings was also showcased in 2019 in Lebanon at the renowned and leading art festivals of the Middle East, the Beiteddine Festival, held in this town in the Chouf Mountains region, as Lebanon is home of both Khalil Gibran as well as Nadim Naaman. Broken Wings was also presented in the Dubai Opera House in January, 2020, as well as in Doha at Katara Opera House in November 2019. Both presentations were sold-out shows.
In March 2019, Al Fardan held the ‘Sounds for Qatar’ concert hosted by Qatar National Library in Doha. The concert included previous work such as ‘The Sounds of the Library’ and ‘Dialogues’, respectively commissioned by the Qatar National Library, Qatar Museums and Qassim Al Thani Museum. During this concert, she also performed live for the first time the song ‘Raise our Flag’, composed by Al Fardan and dedicated to the Qatari National Team for their performance during the Asian Cup 2019.
Al Fardan began 2021 with a series of collaborative projects. One of these projects is the major stage musical Rumi, which is based on a story about the 13th century philosopher and poet Rumi by Evren Sharma. Rumi is a project created in collaboration with West End star Nadim Naaman and featured by West End and Broadway star Ramin Karimloo. This project was recorded in London and Doha through the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, Al Fardan presented her composition ‘Rising’ in collaboration with the AFCENT Band (U.S. Air Forces Central Band) to celebrate the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture that was officially inaugurated at the Katara Cultural Village Opera House on January 15, 2021.