Marcel Khalife performs at Jerusalem fund-raising concert in Jordan

Marcel Khalife
Lebanese composer and singer Marcel Khalife performs on-stage in the Arena Center at Al-Ahliyya Amman University on Friday, August 26, 2022. (Photos: Arena Theatre)
AMMAN — A concert that raised funds for Palestinian children in Jerusalem living under Israel’s prolonged occupation of their homeland was heldon Friday, with a leading stage performance by Lebanese composer and singer Marcel Khalife.اضافة اعلان

Lebanese poet and journalist Zahi Wehbe was the guest of honor in Friday’s concert held in the Arena Center at Al-Ahliyya Amman University, under the patronage of Lower House Deputy Khalil Atieh.

The event was organized by Hilal Al-Quds Club, whose director Diyaa Al-Shwaiki said “funds collected from ticket sales will go to 1,000 Jerusalem underdog children”.

HRH Princess Noor bint Asem attended the concert.

The concert kicked off with an overview on the Hilal Al-Quds Charity Club, which was described as the compass for creativity and the light that aims at keeping the presence of the youth and children of Jerusalem, who experience “the occupation attempts to obliterate their identity”.

Activities offered by the club include music lessons, swimming, football, horse-back riding, as well as cultural and educational events.

Hilal Al-Quds Scout Group then gave a stupendous performance, which was accorded a fervid cheering by the audience. The group went on a parade showing its harmonized movement and playing a mix of Palestinian and Jordanian songs, including the nostalgic “Where is the Arab Population”?

Shwaiki, the club’s director, told the audience: “Words cannot describe my joy”.

“On behalf of myself and all the Palestinian children, I greet His Majesty King Abdullah and all the Jordanians for welcoming us in the Kingdom, and extending all facilities to hold this event,” he declared.

“The club is a comprehensive institution which seeks to create an educated Palestinian generation with a sense of belonging to their homeland to contribute to Palestine’s liberation in the future,” he explained.

He said that Khalife, “whose heart has a special place for Palestine” agreed to attend the event as soon as he heard it was a charity concert.

Shwaiki also voiced his gratitude to the businessmen and deputies, who spared no effort to make the concert a success.

Sally Al-Awadi, a famous young Jordanian singer and social media influencer, also gave an outstanding on-stage performance of a famous song, originally a poem written by Mahmoud Darwish, named “I Love You More”.

The song is a mix of homeland and romance love, in which the poet narrates his love for a woman, as he implicitly relates to Palestine.

Wehbe, the guest of honor, who was passionate about the unstoppable bleeding of Palestinians to defend their homeland, recited some of his poems, notably: “Do Not Forget”.

In his poems, he quoted Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani as saying: “You have something in this world, so stand for It”.

He also cited Darwish’s famous poem written for Palestine, which begins with the popular line: “We have on this earth what makes life worth living”.

Khalife, the concert’s leading performer, then took the stage, walking confidently as he beamed a smile. You could read Palestine’s love in his features. He donned the   Palestinian “kufiya” and carried his oud.

Khalife’s presence was distinguished as the audience eagerly awaited him. He started with the song “In your Absence”; Arabic for “Bghaybtek”, then went along singing the famous “Rita”, “I Walk with My Back Held”, and his favorite of all times “My Mother”, among other songs.

Khalife asked the audience to remain silent while he sang some songs, while in others he asked them to sing with him loudly. The concert’s atmosphere was a mix of silence and enthusiasm.

Surprisingly, Khalife’s son, Rami, also appeared on stage for a fantastic piano performance. The junior Khalife’s interaction with the piano and his concentration were beyond-amazing. He neither looked at the audience, nor did he smile. The theme of his music was impeccably gloomy and sad.

His father sat next to him, clenching the oud with his eyes closed as he was completely taken by his son’s piano tunes. 

Qusai Idrees, a civil engineer and poet who participated in many poetry recitals, said: “I am very interested in poetry, in addition to my love for Palestine, which is why I am here today.”

“If we cannot defend Palestine by blood and weapons, we can definitely defend it by words,” he told Jordan News. He noted that his favorite Khalife songs were “Rita” and “In Green, We Shrouded Him”.

Walaa Yousef, one of the attendees who works at the UN, said she attended because of her faith in the Palestinian cause.

“Music plays a major role in spreading the Palestinian cause on all levels, and what should I say when Marcel Khalife is the singer of the night? I was raised on his magical voice and until now I listen to him a lot,” she added.

She pointed out that Khalife’s work is close to her heart, noting that the concert was excellent and highly organized. She also stated she did not care how expensive the concert tickets were, as long as they go for charity.

Ibrahim Al-Banna, a financial manager, said that Khalife is a “legend” and plays songs, which reminds him of the “old days”. He said that he reads more than he listens, and he does not have a special interest in poetry.

“This concert shows us that the Palestinian cause is alive, judging by people’s interaction with Khalife and the purpose of the concert,” Banna added.

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