Expats in Doha

British expat, Chris Coull, tells us about his life in Qatar and about the Doha Jazz group

Expats in Doha
My move to Doha

I arrived in the year 2000. Originally it was my wife who got a job here, and I came and got a job initially as a teacher. Things have moved on and music has taken over. I studied at Leeds College of Music [trumpet and piano] and I did some music in England for a while before moving abroad to Kenya, and then here.

My work with Doha Jazz

We originally started with one group back in 2001 and as people wanted different types of music, we gradually evolved to different groups. Doha Jazz is the umbrella name for a few different bands – the Doha Jazz Band, Mambo Salsa, Big Band and the Doha Blues Brothers.

My thoughts on Qatar’s music scene

To be honest, it’s pretty limited. A lot of our work is for private parties and functions. Even with knocked-down prices to try to promote public music, there isn’t an awful lot going on. At the moment the only place we play regularly with a full jazz band is at the Ritz-Carlton for their jazz evening. We also play once a week at the Mövenpick but that’s as a two- or three-piece band.

My vision

I think Doha needs, in my opinion, a bar or a club of that nature [one that plays live music]. The thing that brings the public in would be the music. Everybody seems to be obsessed with profit making, which usually translates musically to having one guy with a keyboard and a couple of singers. Our logo is ‘real live music’. We don’t use any recorded backings or midi tracks or computerised keyboards. There’s a lot of people in Doha who recognise that’s not real music; it’s one step above karaoke.

My favourite hang outs

I like Habanos bar, and for restaurants, there’s one called the Moon Palace – it’s a really nice Korean Japanese restaurant on Al Merghab Street. That’s one of my favourites. There used to be Garvey’s and Amigo’s – which had good live music, but they’ve shut down.

My favourite way to spend a weekend

Mostly I’m working. When I’m not playing music, I’m down at the rugby club. I’m not big into the going out thing – I’m an old fart! But places like Habanos or Paloma at the InterContinental are pretty good. I’m also an avid squash player – I’m not very good, but I try!
For more info on Doha Jazz, check out www.dohajazz.com.

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