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Marcel Khalifé Regales Thousands at Historic Al Majaz Amphitheatre Concert

Celebrated Lebanese musical maestro Marcel Khalifé regaled thousands of his fans last night (Friday, April 8) at his first historic live concert at Al Majaz Amphitheatre in the heart of Khalid Lagoon in Sharjah.

The internationally acclaimed Arab composer, singer and oud maestro belted out the choicest selection of compositions from his best loved repertoire of music, representing a rich career spanning more than four decades. Playing to a packed house of music lovers and passionate fans at the spectacular Al Majaz Amphitheatre late into the night, the maestro sang a number of his iconic songs and some from his latest album ‘Andalusia of Love’.

These included lyrics and poems by contemporary Arab poets, such as the legendary Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, whose work celebrates universal freedom and captures the dispossession and homelessness of Palestinian people in particular and the Arab angst in general.

Some of the popular songs which have long been loved and sung by people across the Arab world and the Lebanese legend presented on the occasion included ‘Ummi (My Mother), Rita w’al-Bunduqiya (Rita and the Rifle), and Jawaz Al-Safar (Passport), all by Mahmoud Darwish. Muntasib Al-Qama Amshi (I Walk Upright) and ‘Ya Bahareyya’ (O Sailor Men) were some of the other songs that had the audience singing and clapping with the maestro.       

The Marcel Khalife concert is the latest of initiatives launched as part of Sharjah’s efforts to promote appreciation of art and culture in the emirate. Al Majaz Amphitheatre has been spearheading moves to enrich the art and cultural scene and provide quality entertainment with a purpose to the public.

Khalifé’s lyrical and instrumental recordings add up to more than 20 albums and DVDs. Earlier speaking about his music, he said: “I want to light a candle and curse the darkness at the same time. I sing to break the deafening silence about children sleeping in the cold and screaming of panic and pain. Through music, poetry and songs, I try to express some sort of vague joy, some sort of happiness amidst all this darkness.”

Talking about his relationship with music, he said: “I have attempted over the years to convey my message through music, poetry and singing. I start every day from scratch as if I did not know anything, just like taking a leap in the dark off a high rock.”

Considered an ambassador of Arab culture, Marcel Khalifé is one of the most recognisable Arab artists who has devoted his life to serving the cause of music and celebrating peace and humanity.

He has performed across the Arab world and in Europe, the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, and Japan. He received more than 15 awards for his contributions, including the National Palestine Medal, Palestine (2001) and the UNESCO Artist for Peace - Paris, France (2005). On the 75th birth anniversary of Mahmoud Darwish, he released ‘Andalusia of Love’, an album featuring the poem, The Pigeons Fly off, the Pigeons Alight.

Since its inception in 2014, Al Majaz Amphitheatre has been dedicated to fostering a global music culture in the emirate, offering connoisseurs of music an opportunity to enjoy world-class performances in Sharjah. It was inaugurated with the premiere of epic oratorio, Clusters of Light, and has since hosted a galaxy of Arab and International artists, including Greek musical genius Yanni.