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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Mathias

Ricky Martin at the Dubai Jazz Fest 2018

Updated: May 16, 2019

When singing, dancing and acting are all rolled in to one artist, it almost seems unreal. Award winning artist, Ricky Martin is all this and much more. On his first concert in Dubai, he certainly had us swaying to his tunes and literally transfixed.

"It has taken me 17 years to be at this front line to watch Ricky Martin sing live, and today that wish has come true," says Hosam. This Iranian fan has flown all the way and paid handsomely, just to see one of his biggest idols in person. It is 12. 30 a.m. on a Saturday morning and the sensational Puerto Rican artist Ricky Martin has just left the stage after 180 minutes of singing and dancing.

It’s a night like no other for me. Not only am I covering the Dubai Jazz Festival, an event that's personally close to my heart because it promotes music, we are also given the rare priviledge to go up close for the first three songs of the show.

When he first hits the stage the screaming fans don't know quite how to react. Gabriela Hariz from Slovakia is here alone. I have an extra media only pass and take her to the front of the stage for the first three songs. We are both trembling with excitement. "Thank you for this. Oh my God, I can't really thank you enough," she sobs. Gabriela says that she's been listening to his music since she was a little girl. She speed dials her husband to relate the good news. 

Like the many thousands who have gathered for the show, I've grown up listening to Ricky Martin songs in high school. None of us in India probably knew that 'Livin' la vida loca,' means 'the crazy life.' It didn't matter. We sang along any way. Perhaps mystified by the rhythms of a singer who captivated people from the shores of Indian cities to across the regions of Africa and the Middle East. The way he sang and danced hasn't changed 20 years on. Call it magic, perseverance or whatever you wish. 

Besides all the accolades he has received, this artist is one who is also committed to giving back. 

The Ricky Martin foundation was built to stop human trafficking. Its strategy is to research human trafficking in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to educate and sensitise the public with the hopes of preventing more people from falling victim to this crime. As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, the singer met with activists and determined that his fight would be anchored in education in order to prevent this heinous crime. His foundation has been a leading voice in denouncing and exposing human trafficking globally since the launch of the awareness campaign Slaves of a New Era in 2004.

According to statistics on the official website,, ‘Approximately 30 million people are victims of human trafficking, of which 5.5 million are children.’

As the show continues, all of us are in awe after the hits come one by one. Some familiar, some new. He premieres his latest single, 'Fiebre' in Dubai - a treat for fans worldwide. We are all connected on Facebook live while the song plays.  A rare opportunity that connects listeners and social media enthusiasts. As the crowd gets more and more excited with 'Cup of life,' the anthem of a the former Olympic Games, it is clear that Ricky Martin's music speaks to us all. People from Dubai, Iran, Brazil, the U.S. and countless others, were all united by the pleasure of music. We were here to have a good time. People were singing in the streets well after the singer left the stage. I've had the priviledge of going to a lot of live concerts. This one will hold out in my memory for a very long time. What an unforgettable night. 

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