I miss music. I miss getting in the car and channel surfing through SiriusXM’s endless number of stations. For whatever reason, Al Ain doesn’t get very many radio stations. You would think that the radio waves of Dubai and Abu Dhabi should be able to reach us, but they don’t. It reminds me of my first trip to Al Ain when people referred to it as a ‘village’. By no means would I consider Al Ain to be a village, but as I flip through the roughly three channels available, it does make me realize how non-cosmopolitan Al Ain really is.
Three channels? Okay maybe there are like five at certain times of the day, but it is hard to tell for sure. Sometimes it sounds like the exact same music but playing on different radio stations at the same time. So, you may be wondering, what kind of music do they play? Well, there is what I think of as the religious station. It almost sounds like singing, but I wonder if really it is reciting of the Quran. I am not trying to say this in jest or to be blasphemous, I honestly can’t tell for sure. This takes up anywhere between one to three channels depending on the day of the week and the time of day. There is also a channel in Arabic that I am more confident is actually music and not the Quran.
Then there is the Hindi station(s). This has been known to trick me a few times. The DJs on these stations throw in just enough English (about every fourth word) to make me think it is going to be an English music station. The excitement is short lived once the Hindi music starts playing.
Occasionally, I can pick up a random station from another city. For example, today driving to work, I could hear a station from Muscat, Oman playing. It was High 95.9 FM playing on 90.3. It was a bit fuzzy sounding, but I could make out Katy Perry singing. Reminded me of my childhood when you had to carefully turn the knob on the radio to get just the right frequency.
Finally, there is Abu Dhabi Classic FM (which plays on 105.2 in Al Ain). The standby of western expats. I don’t particularly like classical music, but the DJs speak English. The exciting part is that from about 7:05-7:30 in the morning it becomes Kids Classics where the music selection is less Classical and more Disney mixed with other random music. You are probably asking why I find this entertaining. Well, did you not read the beginning of this post? There are no other options. And this station is “putting the fun into the school run”. So, the kids and I listen to the DJ Damian Watson and his make-believe producer, Ludvig, every morning on the drive to school. Damian and Ludvig have become household names to us. They have a morning trivia contest in which they give away tickets to various shows, brunches, and other events around Dubai and Abu Dhabi. You send an SMS (text message) to enter into the contests. Half of the 25 minute segment is spent with Damian reading the names of the kids entering the contest. It is great fun to hear our names read on the air. The Davis Gaggle has never won anything, but we keep trying.
But best of all, I share the lovely experience with my family back at home. I am sure they love this. 😉 I have been known to record snippets of a song and make my brother guess what movie it came from. He has a pretty good track record. Little Mermaid, Harry Potter, Lion King, Jungle Book? Yep he guessed them all correctly. I think only Braveheart has thrown him so far. If I had never listened to this station, I never would have experienced listening to the British song “Right Said Fred” about three contractors trying to move something out of a house and destroying it in the process. A song which will now forever make me think of my dad. Or, “When I Grow Up” from Matilda which always makes me feel a little sad, but it makes me think of my mom’s warnings throughout my whole childhood about not rushing away time. Above all, my sister gets to experience the kids classics entertainment the most. I have been known to record almost an entire segments for her and send them on whatsapp for her listening pleasure. How else would she fully understand the fun of songs like “Camp Granada” and “Mahna Mahna” or be able to feel as confused as me during the sports segment which is all about football (soccer) and cricket?
The flashdrive I keep in my car currently has about 300 songs on it. It isn’t enough. I feel like I listen to the same music over and over. Every summer, when I go back to the States, I download the top hits from the past year. I am not that picky about what I download – at least it is something new to add to the flashdrive. To make listening to the same music over and over again more interesting, Kassandra and I have a game that we play. We push the random button, listen to the first musical notes of a song, and then turn it off. The first person to correctly sing the first line of the song, gets a point. Ironically, when driving into Abu Dhabi, we sometimes get so caught up in our game that I forget that we entered a city that has real radio stations. We have gotten pretty good. If there were ever a “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” style game show that only used the first line of a song, we would certainly be champions… well as long as it was from one of the 300 songs on my flashdrive.