Marcel Khalife honored with Mahmoud Darwish award at concert in Amman

Marcel Khalife honored with Mahmoud Darwish award at concert in Amman
Marcel Khalife performing live at the Roman Theater on Saturday, June 17, 2023 in Amman. (Photos: Yezen Saadah, Jordan News)
AMMAN — Lebanese composer and singer Marcel Khalife was bestowed with the Mahmoud Darwish Award for Creativity on Saturday, following a captivating live concert at the historic Roman Theater in Amman. اضافة اعلان

Drawing in a crowd of thousands, the evening performance, organized by the Jordan Tourism Board and the Friends of Jordan Festivals, paid homage to the influential Arab artist by honoring him with award, which was announced earlier in March on the birthday of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

Marcel Khalife performs live on stage during his concert on Saturday, June 17, 2023 in Amman. 

Ahead of the concert, Khalife expressed his fondness and admiration for the late poet in a heartfelt Facebook post. “My beautiful friend, I look today in the amphitheater along the coast of a distant memory, under a burning sky,” Khalife said.

Describing the hour-and-a-half-long concert as "a night of a thousand nights", the virtuoso delivered a performance of Palestinian and Lebanese folk songs and poems accompanied by an ensemble of percussionists and string players.

Marcel Khalife awarded the Mahmoud Darwish Award for Creativity during his concert on Saturday, June 17, 2023 in Amman.

Among the performances was Darwish’s “To My Mother”, Samih Qasim’s “Walking Tall”, and some of his own pieces including “Tango for My Lover’s Eyes” and “Ya Bahriya”.

Adding to the evening, Khalife's son, Rami, took the stage with a mesmerizing 15-minute piano solo entitled "Requiem for Beirut", leaving the audience in awe.

Commitment to the Palestinian cause
Khalife was announced as one of the award’s recipients during an annual ceremony held at the Mahmoud Darwish Museum in Ramallah in March. Fathi Albis, a member of the Mahmoud Darwish Foundation’s Executive Board, said that the non-profit selected Khalife because of his contribution to Arab music and commitment to the Palestinian cause. 

Marcel  Khalife and his ensemble thanking the audience following their performance at their concert on Saturday, June 17, 2023 in Amman.

“The annual award is given to artists and creators who have a major role in cultural influence in the Arab world,” Albis said before handing the award to Khalife. 

As the spectators gathered on the thousand-year-old steps of the second-century theater, their applause resonated through the air, harmonizing with Khalife's melodies. Many in attendance, proudly waving the Palestinian, Jordanian, and Lebanese flags, joined in singing along with their beloved artist.

‘A voice for the oppressed’
Bashar Nimry, a devoted fan of Khalife for over four decades, remarked, "He represents so much: Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and the entire Arab world. He embodies the consciousness of the people, raising awareness of their struggle for freedom, liberation, and humanity."

Rami Khalife performing at the evening concert, during his father, Marcel Khalife’s concert on Saturday, June 17, 2023 in Amman.

Nehaya Barqawi, another member of the enthralled audience, saw Khalife not merely as a singer, but as a resounding voice for the oppressed.  "He carries the revolution and the revolutionaries within his voice," Barqawi said.

Marcel Khalife performs for thousands of fans during his concert on Saturday, June 17, 2023 in Amman.

"He fights alongside us and for us, unwavering in his commitment to stand firm and upright."

Read more Music
Jordan News