We cannot help but think of the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”, every time we watch the news these days. The future to many of us has become a scary and bleak thought.

In come two of our modern-day heroes, multi-Grammy winning producer and multi-media entrepreneur Quicy Jones and Emirati social entrepreneur Badr Jafar. The duo created a joint venture initiative titled the Global Gumbo Group in hopes of providing multi-media opportunities across all entertainment platforms including music, film, television, publishing and digital applications in the Middle East and North Africa. The company will initially be focusing on producing live entertainment opportunities in the Middle East for Western artists in collaboration with renowned Middle East and North African artists. The Global Gumbo Group will also look to nurture new Middle Eastern and North African talent, and acquire content from the region to introduce to the West.

One of their first projects was the production of the single “Tomorrow-Bokra” a great example of East-West collaboration, which brought together 24 celebrated Arab stars from 16 nations across the Middle East and North Africa including such legends as Majida El Roumi, Kadim Al Sahir and Saber Rebai. Grammy-nominated international superstar Akon has also lent his vocals to the track, and Shakira, who is of Lebanese descent, has recorded a special introduction to the music video. The single is an Arabic re-adaptation of Quincy Jones

Recording Bokra in Morocco

Recording Bokra in Morocco

Grammy-award winning song entitled ‘Tomorrow (A Better You, A Better Me).’ Jones chose the song for this project because its message suits this special moment in the history of the Middle East and North Africa. The musical collaboration targets the region’s youth and aims to raise awareness, create a platform for tolerance and communication, serve as a symbol of unity between the Arab nations and a means to bridge the gap with the Western world.

“Music touches the soul in ways mere words do not, and the coming together of such a phenomenal chorus of talent for this song signifies the coming together of the best of everything our region has to offer the whole world, and serves as a beacon of solidarity and hope across our region and beyond,” said Badr Jafar.

The recording process began in May in Rabat under the patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco with the support of the Mawazine Festival, and continued in Doha between October 11-13, in collaboration with Associate Producers, Doha Film Institute (DFI) and the Qatar Museums Authority. On 11.11.11 (11th November 2011) the ‘Tomorrow-Bokra’ song premiered live around the world via global TV simulcast, regionally with MBC and on-line with YouTube-Google at an exclusive VIP event at the One & Only, The Palm, Dubai under the Royal Patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs, UAE. The date was chosen specifically to reflect a sense of oneness between all Arab countries and to serve as a beacon of hope for the future of the Middle East and North Africa region at a crucial time in its history.

On the launch, Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid said, “It is a pleasure to extend my patronage to this noble event. I believe in the power of the arts to deepen our life experiences and to enrich and inspire us, and deeply agree with the conviction that we can better support the efforts of all causes by harnessing the social benefits of the arts as a means to enrich or to connect communities. Indeed, as the power of the arts to transform lives becomes more apparent, I look forward to working closely with the foundation as they connect with local and international causes over the benefits the visual arts can bring to our lives.”