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19 September, 2005

Dune tunes: the singing sands

Sand dunes "sing" as they make avalanches, according to scientists, who are compiling a CD of sand music:

"Sand dunes in certain parts of the world are notorious for the noises they make as sand avalanches down their sides. Some emit low powerful booms, others sound like drum rolls or galloping horses, and some are even tuneful. These dune songs have been reported to last for up to 15 minutes and can sound as loud as a low-flying aeroplane."

What melodies will the dunes of Dubai be singing? A possible top ten:

1. Bridge Over Troubled Wadi
2. Sweet Camel O'Mine
3. Bye Bye Miss Arabian Pie
4. Sheikh, Rattle & Roll
5. Save The Last Dishdash For Me
6. I Heard It Through the Grapeshisha
7. Smells Like Tent Spirit
8. Rock Around The Clocktower
9. My Hajjar Will Go On
10. You've Lost That Levant Feeling



Blogger Poshboy said...

maybe "My little Deuce Camel" (Good for driving down the runway), "Shishastarter by the Prodigy", or maybe "Lady in Hibayah" by Chris de Burgh.

19 September, 2005 02:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very good!

19 September, 2005 08:09  
Blogger Your Man in Dubai said...

I have heard sand making noise while walking on the dunes and your bare foot sinks in. Wouldn't call them tune full, more like a squeaky fart!

Another good one for you, on the Dubai - Hatta road there are some sand falls. Man made, a sort of sand mine. The last time I was there a clump of sand fell from 50 feetup that must of weighed about 5 tonnes. Although man made a very impresive sight.

19 September, 2005 09:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Knights in White Polyester (Moodhy Al Beluze)

I like speeding in my car (Madness)

Another Day in Sinister Paradise (Mike Davis)

The Lady in Black (Chris de Burj)

Anarchy on the Emitates Road (The Lewd Act Pistols)

Is this the way to Ras Al Khaimah (Beter Kay)

My Funny Keralite (Chet Bakkar)

Jumeirah Dreaming (The Mamas (in the Pajero) and the Papas (still at work))

Sweet Child O' Mine (The Racing Camel Owners)

Paranoia (Black Friday)

19 September, 2005 10:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Save The Last Dishdash For Me" O Sweet Camel of Mine"

Cant wait to hear them! I hope they are not Dissing anybody.

Has any body heard the song from Jim - Dubai is a rising star. Is really good!

19 September, 2005 11:34  
Blogger Parv said...

Speaking of dune tunes, does anyone remember a real gem of song from days gone yonder titled "Back in Dubai"? We're talking back in the late 70s/early 80s (and yes, I have lived here that long). I remember shaking my toddler tailfeather to this whenever disco-dancing Uncle-T threw it on the 45.

The Goggle attempt was futile. Anyone got any ideas?

19 September, 2005 12:02  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

I want to hold your sand.

Born in the UAE

19 September, 2005 12:05  
Blogger Parv said...

Oh success! Found some details of the tune, courtesy of GN archives.

It is 'Back in Dubai' and was sung by Sal Davies. It was frequently played on radio stations in Dubai in the late '70s and early '80s. To our knowledge, the record is no longer available. Sal Davies, of Kenyan origin but with Oman nationality, was a frequent visitor to the emirates then, when he appeared in several cabaret acts and on Dubai Channel 33 TV. The song was also used by Emirates airline in their early in-flight promotional films of Dubai."

But has anyone got a copy of it?!

19 September, 2005 12:07  
Blogger black feline said...

me think the sand dune is really a faux...nothing to scream about.otherwise it will be highly regarded by the world as a natural phenomena...i heard better f#rting.

19 September, 2005 12:29  
Blogger Poshboy said...

Just had look on a certain P2P and it is not there.. surprise surprise!!!

And on there are numerous references to a track called "Back in Dubai" by an African Band "Spirit of Africa"

19 September, 2005 12:30  
Blogger silentmode_v2 said...

hahaha...good one!

19 September, 2005 14:51  
Blogger Garthicus said...

I think the Mushrooms also sang it and I know for a fact that Marky Mark has a copy of it in his villa in Satwa! Perhaps he'll burn you a copy!

19 September, 2005 14:53  
Blogger said...

D Marky Mark has a villa in Satwa? Why? Is his bank account drying up or something? Satwa is just 'ghetto'...

19 September, 2005 15:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

19 September, 2005 21:53  
Blogger secretdubai said...

balushi - speculating on someone's orientation in a country that criminalises certain orientations borders on defamation, hence the deletion.

20 September, 2005 00:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to let you know... I have my suspicions that this is the exact same Balushi that has already been 'banned' from some other well-known local sites for his aggressive, archaic and annoying rants. If it is, soon we'll all get to see how he has nothing contstructive to say, and how he prowls local sites just looking for places where he can piss people off. Maybe it's not him, in which case I apologise to you, Balushi (mach 2), but so far I'm getting the feeling that I've seen this (insert rude noun of your choice here) somewhere before.
Be careful SecretDubai... if your blog ever spends any more time in the cold, lonely 'blocked-site' dungeon, it will be this guy that takes you there. And what a shame that would be.

20 September, 2005 07:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in Dubai.....theres a Sun and it shines there all the time....I remember that tune from the late 70s when I was getting out of diapers, but I dont remember the lyrics. I had the song back in the audio tape days but tapes seem to almost become obsolete and I got rid of my old collection. :( My bet is that you may be able to find the song at one audio store next to Astoria hotel in Bur Dubai(dunno the name). This owner always has Jim Reeves playing in his store. He's a Jim Reeves collector. Hope that helps.

20 September, 2005 09:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secy, He is the one that talks like that not me.

20 September, 2005 09:57  
Blogger Parv said...

Cheers garthicus and poshboy for the refs. Can't seem to find this song anywhere - think I might just have to give good ol' Marky a shout.

SD - sorry about digressing from the subject!

20 September, 2005 10:02  
Blogger * said...

Now thats what I call SANDMUSIC!Brilliant that.Ok on a more personal note I am going a bit mad trying to insert a link onto my blog and I know it a piece of cake for you guys but bear with me,I am emerging from a 7 year hibernation and the gray cells are ...(NONEXISTENT)umm rusty.

20 September, 2005 10:06  
Blogger Poshboy said...

It is good to know that I am not the only one who has balushi doubts....

20 September, 2005 12:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balushi was a well-known 'toilet contents'-stirrer who created havoc on the chatboard and the Middle East Section. I believe his posts on the latter site are still searchable, if you are curious in seeing the sort of things he does.

20 September, 2005 17:25  
Blogger secretdubai said...

balushi - I don't know if you are the same balushi that others are mentioning.

What I do think is that it would be a very good idea for you to get your own blog as well, because you clearly have a lot of thoughts about things, and it would give you a chance to express them without the limitations in place here (which are playing safe within UAE law). And no one could delete you or censor you in your own blog!

Why not give it a go?

20 September, 2005 17:46  
Blogger black feline said... worst fear is indeed confirmed...balushit is a bona fide toilet stirrer...anyway, fully agreed u should start your own blog and named it my bullshit..

20 September, 2005 19:42  
Blogger said...

*Cue the angry mob bearing torches and pitchforks chasing Balushi out of town...*.

Seriously though...i'm not sure what he did, but u guys need to calm down a little...

20 September, 2005 20:54  
Blogger black feline said...

relax...we are just rehearsing for Lord of the Flies...someone has to be the victim right? dont be a spoilt sport...LOL

20 September, 2005 21:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi twisted,

Thanks for the pointer about calming down. Just stick around... you'll soon get to see why Balushi is so notorious. He really is a pest of staggering proportions.

(and btw, I don't think you can search for his previous posts on - he was banned from the site and I think all his previous posts were removed due to fear of the site being blocked).

I think that Balushi starting his own blog is a fine idea.

21 September, 2005 06:23  
Blogger 1Desi said...

Is this the same one that goes something like... 'Ahlan wa sahlaan... the life in the emirates... dubai, abu dhabi .....' and went on to list the rest of the emirates? that song got a lot of air-play on 92.0 in those days.

Anyone know who sang that one? It was some bearded, italian dude - a luciano pavarotti look-alike. I anyone has it, pls. put it up on the web

21 September, 2005 13:04  
Blogger 1Desi said...

Here's a meager attempt at a top5 (cant be half as funny as the original post!)

5. Sittin' on the dock of Business Bay - Otis 'elevators got the contract' Redding

4. Red Red Swine - U B found in a small corner at Spinneys

3. Beat It (outta the mid-east extended mix) - Wacko Jacko

2. She's got the look - Mankhool Foxette

1. I'm Gonna Be (500 miles) - The (Tax) Proclaimers

21 September, 2005 13:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secy, I would start my own blog but people will only come to talk bad about me. I am not bad, its my english that is not good.

and those expatmum are better off taking about diapers. I was getting bored there anyway.

21 September, 2005 19:35  
Blogger secretdubai said...

balushi - if you put up interesting and well-written content - your English needn't be perfect - then people will respond favourably. Obviously when a strong opinion is expressed some would disagree.

I just think that you would enjoy blogging, and you wouldn't be kind of "chased away" from site to site as you seem to have been.

21 September, 2005 22:55  
Blogger black feline said...


u must stop running like a refugee..and seeking asylum..there are people who actually like shitty stuff...go for it!

22 September, 2005 10:55  
Blogger black feline said...


talking bad about u is perfectly ok and can be a healing process for u...u know like a's a reflection after all..JUST DO IT! i promise to be the 1st to give my 2 cents worth..u bet...hmmmmmmmmmmm....(rubbing my palms together)

22 September, 2005 11:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secy, why are you allowing pussycat call me with names?

22 September, 2005 18:22  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Balushi - I really don't want anyone calling anyone names.

I can only urge again that I really think you should get your own blog - I'm happy for you to comment on mine within the bounds of appropriateness, but you seem to have so much to say I think there would be more space and exposure for you in a blogspot blog.

I would greatly prefer it if people bickered about issues rather than one another in their comments.

22 September, 2005 18:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secy, I would start my blog today but the problem is my computer knowledge is not good :(

I had so much troubles to know how to post comments on your humble site. My dad once send me to computer course and gave me 300 dirhams for the course but i took the money and spend it in game shop playing snooker... i regrat it now.

23 September, 2005 19:18  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Balushi - clearly if you are able to post comments here and in the dozens of other forums you have apparently frequented then you have enough ability to have your own site. Don't take us for fools!

Go to and just sign up.

23 September, 2005 19:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secy, I like your site! But If you don't like me coming here, I won't.

23 September, 2005 19:44  
Blogger said...

Balushi & Secret Dubai...i am just here in front my PC cracking up :-) You guys should go on tour together.

23 September, 2005 22:52  
Blogger black feline said...

secret dubai,

me think u have a problem of a different kind here..apparently this balushit guy/gal is infactuated with u..LOL

he is stalking

24 September, 2005 10:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pussycat, I like the website from secy! i just eat hamburger i dont care to meet the cow!

what is meaning of infactuated?

24 September, 2005 17:19  
Blogger black feline said...


tweety bird..dont u smell a pussycat behind u? LOL
well..bird brain like yours will need your mummy to explains the meaning to u..LOL

24 September, 2005 17:44  
Blogger secretdubai said...

black feline - I am trying to curb balushi's behaviour on here, if you could avoid anything that might provoke it, I would greatly appreciate your taking the high road and rising above it.

24 September, 2005 17:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pussycat, If you like to make joke please try to make us laugh! not urself zzzZZZzzzzzzZZZ.

24 September, 2005 18:21  
Blogger black feline said...

point taken..i shall try my very best not to provoke IT.

24 September, 2005 22:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I anyone has the song Back in Dubai, please please please post it on the net.

05 November, 2007 02:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually found a vinyl of the song "Back In Dubai" by Sal Davis hidden a drawer at home this week. I also found a tape of a Duo called the Establishment that wrote a great song, that we all used to sing along to, called "Life In the Emirates" If I remember rightly (as I was only a small lad at the time) they used to sing in the Falcon Bar at the old Hilton Hotel.

09 November, 2007 09:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, now you have my attention; I've been trying to get that song (Back in Dubai) everywhere online, but not able to.

I doubt the radio stations here may still have it, or bother helping a 1980s Dubai boy, trying to re-create a bit of nostalgia.

Any chance we could get a copy of the song?



15 November, 2007 00:03  
Blogger Danny said...

I'm also looking for this song 'Back in Dubai' I was born there in 79 and remember this distinctly, I'm sure my parents had it on repeat! I can't get a copy anywhere but would love one for posterity

Has anyone had any luck yet?

16 November, 2007 12:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I said, I do have it on tape and record, but not sure how I can post it on the net. Any ideas?

24 November, 2007 12:11  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Anonymous: not sure whether you're based in Dubai or back in your home country, but it should be possible to convert the tape and the record to a digital file. If you don't want to tackle it yourself (you would probably need some special software and a way to connect your music player to your computer) then there are any number of people offering services to convert vinyl to digital and so on, if you are in the UK.

If you are in Dubai, then what I recommend is calling a radio station who will probably be interested in playing the song, and would certainly have appropriate equipment to convert it to digital.

Once you have it in digital format it's easy to stick on YouTube, or if you prefer just to email to me, I can put them on YouTube for you.

Email me at secretdubai at gmail and I can try to give further help. I would certainly love to hear these songs.

24 November, 2007 12:49  
Blogger Danny said...

If you do get a copy emailed to you I'd certainly appreciate one too. I am subscribed to the comments here so fingers crossed. If anyone needed help getting it converted I have the facilities to do it here (work at Newcastle University) so if you can get a copy to me I can sort it out!

17 December, 2007 18:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this post trying to find a better version of the track(s). I have a copy of the tape mentioned in mp3 format. the quality isn't the best but the tape is 20+ years old. I have the following tracks

The Establishment - Life In The Emirates & The Legend Of Matty Groves.

Sal Davis - Back In Dubai & You Took A Lifetime To End And A Minute To Loose.

You should be able to download a zipped copy of the 4 tracks from mediafire.

The URL is:


18 December, 2007 23:59  
Blogger Danny said...

Brilliant! It's not quite as I remember it but that could be 20 years of not hearing it. Still, great song :)

19 December, 2007 13:23  
Blogger Danny said...

aaah, had to post again, thanks again for that, what memories! The wife thinks I'm a nutter now but hey ho :)

19 December, 2007 13:42  
Blogger Manny said...

Danny, glad the tracks brought back some memories! I remembered about the song when I found a facebook group for my old school in Abu Dhabi (Al Khubairat), seeing photos from back in the early eights got me all nostalgic!! The songs always remind me of my dad driving down the corniche on the way to the "club".
Anyway glad they're of some use, Cheers

19 December, 2007 21:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fantastic! just downloaded 'Life in the Emirates' and 'Back in Dubai' - thank you so much for putting those out there. fantastic memories. i also remember a husband and wife duo called the Jolly Balls who used to sing 'Take me home Sharjah road' and one with words 'it's away to Satwa, my dear Fatima...'

23 January, 2008 20:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the songs! Does anyone have Happy Christmas UAE? I thought it was by the same band as did Life in the Emirates.

"As Santa...something...with his reindeer team of five, we think he would do better in a sleigh with four-wheel drive. And it's, happy Christmas, to the UAE again, happy Christmas to the sun..."

25 April, 2008 06:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father is Sal Davis.... does anyone have access to more of his songs? I am his youngest daughter, Nicky, and I dont have any of his recordings. Thanks for the link to the two songs, but I would love to have more.

09 June, 2008 19:44  
Blogger Sonia Said said...

Hi, I was in the band that recorded Happy Christmas UAE in about 1981, 1982! The band was called Second Story. Two teachers at the Choeuifat School in Sharjah started the band up, Frank Phillips (guitar and vocals) and Gramae Scott (vocals) were the core of the band, the rest of the instumentalists were teachers from the school and me, I was a student at the time. I played the guitar on the record. I've got the tape that we recorderd somewhere, I'll try to get it converted to digital and then let you know! Excellent memories!

16 October, 2008 16:09  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Hi Sonia,

That would be wonderful if you could digitise the recording, I would love to post a link (and lyrics if you have them) to it here.

16 October, 2008 16:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am looking for those songs... life in dubai and back in dubai but the link to them is no longer working...

anyone else got them anywhere???

21 October, 2008 16:30  
Blogger Danny said...

Hi Louise,
I have the Sal Davies and the Establishment tracks at home. If no one beats me to it I'll put them up on a website and post here.


29 October, 2008 17:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh would you. I'll keep checking back :)

Thank you!!!!

17 November, 2008 02:28  
Blogger Danny said...

Good job you posted! I completely forgot :)

You can get the tracks from my website here -

17 November, 2008 12:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

None of the links to the Sal Davies song work. Can someone please repost?

02 March, 2009 10:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a link to Back in Dubai by Sal Davies and The Establishment.


03 March, 2009 07:36  
Blogger Danny said...

You can still get Back in Dubai and Life in the Emirates from my website here -


13 March, 2009 15:56  
Blogger The Archangel Conspiracy said...

You wouldn't happen to have the Establishment doing "The Legend of Matty Groves", would you? That was a fun little ditty.

And thank you SO much for those two songs! I've been searching for YEARS (literally) for "Life In The Emirates", and I still can't believe people actually remember it!

01 April, 2009 04:37  
Blogger Danny said...

'The Legend of Matty Groves' and 'You Took A Lifetime To Find And A Minute To Loose' added

07 April, 2009 13:07  
Blogger The Archangel Conspiracy said...

Utterly brilliant, thank you SO very much. So many many memories here!

07 July, 2009 02:25  
Blogger Unknown said...

Its just plain Nostalgia!!!!!

04 August, 2009 16:53  
Blogger Danny said...

For those still looking for Sal Davies and/or The Establishment my website has now moved to Sorry for any inconvenience!

14 September, 2009 17:12  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am really trying to find the Legend of Matty Groves song. All the links mentioned above have expired. I cant find it anywhere. If you could help I would greatly appreciate it!

27 November, 2017 23:19  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Email me -

28 November, 2017 00:56  

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