A couple weeks ago Zade Dirani, a Jordanian composer, pianist and beautiful soul held an open air concert in downtown Amman's Roman theatre that allows for a 5000 person audience. I was not at One Night in Jordan, but there have been many accounts of the event and various opinions about the experience like this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this. I am however a huge fan of events at the theatre with the Amman town backdrop.
I met Zade for the first time at the Aramex 25th themed Unleashing Arab Innovation. I had seen him perform, listened to his music, visited his site, known about the Zade Foundation and Seeds of Peace, and heard wonderful things about him for years. But last summer was the first time we ever chatted.
Zade shared parts of his journey. He spoke passionately about his music and art in general. He talked about the positioning of his brand. He talked about the choice of the English spelling of his name (Zaid, Zeid, Zayd, Zade all work in theory). Zade was a strategic decision, and he has a story there. He talked about positioning. He spoke of the musicians he works with from all corners of the world. He talked about his big performances and the more intimate ones. He talked about audience reactions. And no matter what he talked about- the pragmatic or the artistic or spiritual - his positive outlook never swayed and the sparkle never left his eyes. I found myself smiling back. Zade never pretended not to be a packaged effort as well as talent and hard work, and keen to contribute to a mission. He sat up straight because he believed that's the right posture, and perfects it out of training. He never tried to give me the spiel of the Bohemian artist vs the working man with a calculated plan. I wanted to know more.
I made an effort to find out about this Zade by design.
His talent draws the attention of people in Jordan and the world, who in turn extend their support to him. His efforts pay off and enable him to live his art, and live off his passion - music. He has a spectrum of audiences. He's come a long way since his schoolboy talent his classmates remember. He has skills. He has a plan. He has objectives. He has hopes. He does good. He has disappointments. He has partners. He has challenges. He has successes. He has mentors. He has dreams. And he also has a chance to go after a lifetime of incredible out there, up ahead, waiting to be had.
You may or may not find yourself a fan of Zade's work - that's up to your personal choice in music and performance. Like any artist, he offers good experiences for some, and not so good for others. He uses his art for causes, and his brand for reach. Again you may or may not like that. But what we can agree on though is that Zade Dirani is a creative worker. An entrepreneur. A specialist, in touch with the generalist. He has target audiences. A communication plan. His industry is the artistic specialization of music. Which make him part of the creative economy*. All this doesn't make him less compassionate, nor less cause driven, nor less qualified to garner support. Zade is also part of the experience economy. Economies which you the audience are a huge and vital part of. I often say: a film is nothing without its audience, and here certainly, a concert is nothing without its audience. Artists never stop thanking you for being part of the product that is them.
One Night in Jordan will remain alive through the audiovisual products being created, and thru the message that continues to resonate. If you were one of the thousands on those Roman stones that night, you're lucky. How wonderful to be an ingredient in a product that will live on long past a night - you are a contribution to that night, and beyond. Being part of the message and part of the vehicle. That's big!
*Only the fastest growing economy in the world today. Go ahead, google it. The creative industries are going to be the Arab world's employment challenge saviors over the next quarter century - if we embrace them that is. Remember the day I blogged this! The workers in these industries are an incredible contribution to local and global economies, and quality of life at large.
The only thing you leave behind is that which you create?