Popular Dubai-based folk-rock band, The Boxtones, are paying a musical tribute to the unsung heroes fighting on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. The Scottish-Canadian rockers, spoke to Gulf News about their 'No Ordinary Hero' campaign video that was released on April 15 to salute and "put names and faces" to those who are working day and night to ensure that people around the world goes on safely.
The idea came to them in the beginning of April, when the the group was practicing social distancing and staying home in Dubai's Al Furjan area, to support the UAE in their fight against the global pandemic. The band's singer, song-writer Gary Tierney, 43, said: "It was singer Louise Peel who came up with the idea that something special had to be done to honour the unsung heroes who don't get to remain home, instead risk their safety and health to ensure others are safe." The song, originally recorded three years ago for Universal Music was the perfect choice because of the name and the lyrics.
"We want to pay homage to the selfless acts of everyone working in hospitals, ambulances and chemists including the porters, catering staff and cleaners. To those keeping us safe, the supermarket security, police officers, social workers and mental health workers. To those whose praises are rarely sung like the janitors and cleaners keeping areas safe for us and the supermarket attendants also risking their lives by turning up and exposing themselves to the public so that we can buy food, the delivery guys bringing food to those who can’t get out, and teachers scrambling to make sense of all the e-learning demands so that they can still educate our kids. All of these people and more deserve to be supported and uplifted right now to keep their morale up and to let them know that we appreciate everything they are doing and sacrificing for us all," wrote Louise, 43, on the band's blog page.
On April 2, inviting people to participate in their campaign, the band's members Jean Louis Wittinger, Louise Peel, Gary Tierney, Gillian Janssen, and Will Janssen posted on their Facebook page: "Calling all Heroes! Do you know someone who is risking their lives to help those in need right now? No matter where they are in the world, whether they are doctors, nurses, porters, ambulance workers, cleaning staff, police officers, social workers, teachers, supermarket attendants or chemists...We want to pay tribute to everyone who is working on the front line in the battle against this pandemic, in the only way we know how; through our music."
"If you would like to show your respect and support for friends and family members working with the public trying to keep us safe, healthy, fed and sane then please send us a picture of your hero along with their name. We will include them in a video release we are putting together for a special version of one of our tracks 'No Ordinary Hero'. Please send all photos and names by Sunday, April 5th," the post requested, while urging the band's followers to stay at home to support these heroes.
Requests started pouring in from not just the UAE but also all around the world, the UK, Canada, USA, India and more. Tierney added: " Many people sent in names of their family members, and friends who were working day and night to serve the society during this tough time. We could not fit all the requests that we received, only about a 100 or so, but we tried to include as many people as possible from different professions and locations."
After recording and working from home the video was finally shared on the band's YouTube channel on April 15. Many have applauded their effort and called the video "heart warming".
Facebook user Rasha Lutfi posted: "Thank you Boxtones! Beautiful song. My family sends their thanks for Including my brother. Thank you to all the heroes out there keeping us alive, well, and fed."
Another follower Cheryl Rempel Elliott posted: "Thank you! Beautiful. Well done."
And, Melissa Nelson added: "Thank you, it’s awesome. Looking forward to the day we are able to meet again. Stay safe everyone."