Sonic branding is of increasing interest in the airline sector, with Qatar Airways being the latest to consider how its brand might be reflected through sound – or music in this case. The airline has brought in Dana Al Fardan, a Qatari composer and songwriter who is the ‘Official Composer’ of Qatar Airways Group, to create a new onboard theme song, which can be heard during boarding and on the IFE system.
The song, titled The Ascent, is the third onboard theme song created by Dana Al Fardan for the airline since 2016, the previous titles being The Awakening and The Dawn. The latest song is intended to mark new beginnings and adventurous journeys for the airline and its passengers alike in Qatar’s post-World Cup era, the football event having greatly benefited the country’s travel and tourism sectors.
The Ascent has been performed by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra members using musical instruments such as the piano, violin, viola and cello, blending Arabic culture with classical music. She has achieved this by also including the Ney (an Arabic wind instrument) and the Rababa (an Arabic bowed string instrument) in her musical pieces.
Dana Al Fardan said of the music, “As a composer, I really want to capture the sounds from my country and explore the nuances of different Arabic instruments, rhythmic patterns, and flourishes. The idea is to preserve the authenticity of one style of sound and build it into another in a way that fits without one having to accommodate the other by deconstructing itself.”
She is also gaining recognition around the world, having played at the iconic Theatre Royal Haymarket in London, which brought the Qatari composer’s work to a UK audience for the first time. She has also delved into musical theatre, composing the music for Broken Wings and Rumi: The Musical. Broken Wings was the first Middle Eastern musical that arrived in London’s West End, and it has been performed in various theatres around the globe. Rumi: The Musical premiered at London’s Coliseum to a full house, and in Qatar during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
All three of Dana Al Fardan’s songs for Qatar Airways, collectively titled Trilogy of the Ascent, will be available on all streaming platforms from 10 September 2023, and will also be available on the Oryx One inflight entertainment (IFE) system.