Peace singer compels wonderMarcel Khalifa sings for Yemen [Archives:2005/840/Culture]

May 9 2005

SANA'A- May 7- “It is amazing” was the statement that I uttered involuntarily at the concert that took place at May 22 Hall in the city of Sana'a on the eve of last Wednesday. The hall resounded with applause and screams of admiration. All had their emotions on the tips of their fingers as Marcel Khalifa went on with his strong voice chanting series of his songs.

Along with his band, Marcel dedicated the opening song to Yemen, “the origin of Arabs.” He then performed songs with the accompaniment of modern musical instruments and his favorite “oud”. One of the songs was titled “The Nicest Mother” that was dedicated to the mothers of martyrs. With moving words, melody and above all voice, Marcel Khalifa excited the audience with the always quoted enthusiastic anthem “With a straight body I walk n my hand is an olive branch and my coffin is over my shoulder,” which shows the intensity of love for the homeland, sacrifice, and peace as well. The audience, which consisted from people from the social spectrum, were so enthralled that they picked up the verse and overwhelmed the voice of the singer who himself started clapping in ecstasy.

On Saturday, May 7, Marcel Khalifa performed at another concert in the city of Aden for a large audience filling the pits of Aden Stadium.

“I have come to Yemen with love,” said Marcel Khalifa at the beginning of one of his concerts. He was invited to Yemen by Kana'an Association for Palestine and Yemeni Lebanese Fraternity Association.

“I want to penetrate through the public to preserve memory and maintain solidarity with the defenders against the hammer of deterioration that attacks our culture,” he said at a press conference organized on Tuesday, May 3.

He defined art as “an expression that leads us to admit our identity and understand the lyric better.

” Of my duties is the search for a clean musical sentence. I am committed to the gifts of love which we should carry and safeguard.”

Marcel Khalifa is an outstanding Arab singer who revolutionized typical musical conventions and devised techniques to adapt Arab singing to modern styles combining practical and theoretical creation. His art is full of ideas that sanctify freedom, homeland and love.

As an expressionist, he employs music to create an expressive concept in parallel to the sung lyrics based on invented musical patterns that adapt the lyrical meter to the expressive performance suiting the modern standard Arabic text. He also introduces into his works western musical modes such as jazz using variant rhythmic patterns without impairing the oriental quality.

Khalifa obtained his academic qualifications in music from the National Conservatoire in Beirut. He formed al-Maiadeen Musical Band in 1967, which was famous for revolutionary songs. Khalifa traveled around the globe performing concerts at world-class halls.

Marcel Khalifa produced music for several films and was awarded various merits, medals, and honors from countries including Tunisia, Germany, UAE, Australia, Venezuela, Cuba, Bulgaria and Yemen when he visited Aden in 1979. The most recent honor was his being designated by the UNESCO as a peace singer. It is for the first time that this title is given to an Arab singer.

He is associated in the Arab mind, especially Yemeni, with the Palestinian Cause and resistance against occupation.