DEARBORN — He strolls through Shatila Pastries with an entourage, and instantly you know something special’s going on. Yep, it’s Lebanese favorite Marcel Khalife, in town for a weekend of concerts with Al Mayadine Ensemble. The line at the register? A cashier in the middle of a transaction runs over to get her picture taken with Khalife. He accommodates her and others. Everyone waits patiently. Khalife is special.
A Lebanese composer, singer and oud player, Khalife is considered a Palestinian among the Palestinians, a southerner among the south Lebanese and most commonly an Arab musician. From 1970 to 1975, he taught at the conservatory in Beirut. In 1976, he created Al Mayadeen Ensemble and became famous all over the world for songs like Ummi (My Mother), Rita w’al-Bundaqiya (Rita and the Rifle) and Jawaz al-Safr (Passport), based on Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry. The first performances took place in Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war in 1975. During the war, he risked his life in bombed out concert halls.
In 1999 he was granted the Palestine Award for Music. In turn, he contributed the financial portion of the award to the National Conservatory of Music at Birzeit University in Palestine. In 2005, Khalife was named UNESCO Artist for Peace.
Khalife will perform in Ann Arbor on Friday evening, November 9, at 8:00 p.m., at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St. General admission: $30, VIP: $75. Purchase tickets at www.ticketmaster.com or www.michtheater.org
In Dearborn he will perform on Saturday, November 10, at 8:00 p.m. at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave. General admission: $30, VIP: $75. Tickets for this date can be purchased by calling the box office at 313.943.2354.
Meanwhile, an incredible group of Lebanese stars will play to a sold-out audience at the Fox Theatre in Detroit Friday evening.
Three wildly popular Lebanese singers, Najwa Karam, Wael Kfoury and Fadel Chaker are set to perform at Detroit’s Fox Theatre at 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9. Tickets are between $65 and $195.
Karam, whose distinctly recognizable voice was introduced with the release of her first album, Ya Habayeb, in 1989, become known throughout the Arab World in 1994 with the release of the single, Law Habaytak-Ana Mafiyee. She is often referred to as Shams El Ghinnieh (The sun of the Arabic song ).
Having released 14 albums and performed at concerts and festivals around the world, Karam is known as one of the most prolific Arab performers.
Chaker, born in Saida, Lebanon, is a descendant of Palestinians. His first album was released in 1998. The single Baya’a El Qolob, released on his second album in 1999, catapulted him to stardom throughout the Middle East.
His music is known for utilizing traditional melodies with minimal Western influence.
Kfoury, whose real first name is Michael, is a young and very popular singer in Lebanon and the Arab World. He has received many music awards, as has Karam.
According to the entertainment industry newspaper Variety, he is preparing for a role in a large-scale musical film to be produced by Pepsi. He became famous after the release of Ma Waatik bi Njoom Al Layl in the early 1990’s.
Next weekend, Miles Copeland’s latest group, Bellydance Superstars, will take the stage at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.