Egyptian performer Riham Abdelhakim.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The National Arab Orchestra from the United States presented a grand spectacle of authentic Arab music and lyrical heritage on Friday and Saturday evenings at Al Majaz Amphitheatre in Sharjah wowing a full house of music aficionados. The distinctive voices of leading Arab singers and Arab American artists and performers recreated the magic of traditional Arabic music as well as the modern spirit of the era.
The twin concerts, held as part of the new #LetsMajaz season, presented the Arab singing voices and talents, accompanied by members of the National Arab Orchestra from the US state of Michigan featuring Arab Americans and Americans diverse cultures, led by Michael Ibrahim, the founder of the orchestra. The National Arab Orchestra, which has won plaudits in the US and West, performed in Sharjah as part of the Emirate’s continuing efforts to present a cultural and artistic approach that is in line with the identity of the Emirate of Sharjah as an incubator of authentic Arab creativity, culture and heritage.
The first of the two concerts held on Friday evening starred the popular Egyptian singer Riham Abdelhakim and the Syrian artist Mohannad Mashlah, who took the audience on an exciting journey of discovering the treasures of the Egyptian and Syrian musical heritage. Riham performed a number of songs by the legendary Egyptian artists like Umm Kulthum (You are my life and others), while Mohannad Mashlah entertained the audience with his rich lyrical voice recreating a number of songs from the singing giants from across Syria and Lebanon, besides popular folk songs.
The two artists took turns singing a distinct combination of songs, such as “Lola Al-Malamah”, “Amana Alik”, “I Love You”, “Once Upon a Place”, “My heart for you”, and other songs that have left an imprint in the history of Arab music and singing. The second night of the orchestra on Saturday was a journey into the world of Arabic poetry and melody. Lebanese sensations Abeer Nehme and Mari Sarhan renewed the artistic legacy of the Rahbani brothers, the iconic Fairouz, Sultan Al-Qudud Al-Halabiya Sabah Fakhri and other giants in addition to parts from the epic Andalusia. The two artists performed a number of classics.
They entertained the audience with the performance of “Salute him”, “May God be pleased with you”, “Ya bird”, “My homeland”, “Tell Maliha”, “When will you know” and “Jet your time.” The two concerts of Al Majaz Amphitheatre revived the audience's relationship with the heritage of Arabic song and music. Al Majaz Amphitheatre has been bringing the best of the authentic Arabic music to Sharjah and the UAE as part of the Emirate’s vision to preserve the Arab heritage and ancient arts and presenting them to new generations in a modern style.
The National Arab Orchestra concerts succeeded in connecting the link between the past and the present through rich musical traditions and poetry. The music lovers in Sharjah and UAE will have another date with the internationally acclaimed orchestra in the next season of #LetsMajaz with new ‘tarabic’ notes and voices, to celebrate the treasures of timeless Arabic music. The National Arab Orchestra was led by its acclaimed founder and conductor, Michael Ibrahim.
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