Tuesday July 24, 2007
The festival, themed “Arabian Nights, Mediterranean Sensation”, will also feature local artistes Khadijah Ibrahim, Sheila Majid, Ning Baizura, Mawi, Camelia and Noryn Aziz.
Held in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2007 and the 50th Merdeka celebrations, the festival comprises three key events: the Ziryab Grand Premiere (July 24 and 26), Ziryab Pop Opera and Cultural Gala (Aug 6 and 8) and Ziryab Glam (Aug 29 and 31).
The Middle Eastern artistes are:
This Lebanese queen of pop was the first prize winner at the Lebanese Song Festival when she was only 16. At 21, she burst onto the music scene with a best-selling debut album, and her music video for the hit song, Ana Wel Shoq, quickly became the most requested on TV.
With charisma and a fun personality, Myriam further developed her own niche with a distinct vocal style and even a dance that is all her own creation.
In 2004, she toured the Middle East and performed sold-out shows and also won the Best Young Female Artiste award. Last November, she was given the Best Young Singer award by Al Ahram Al Masriya, one of the leading newspapers in Egypt, in a ceremony held at a British University in Egypt. She was chosen for the award via a survey conducted in all Egyptian universities. This led to her appearance on MTV Europe and her being named Best Arab Singer.
This singer, model and actress won the Miss South Lebanon crown at the age of 16, and two years later, went on to become MTV’s Miss Lebanon 1995. Since then, she has appeared on over 300 magazine covers around the world.
With an already large fan base, Haifa decided to pursue a singing career in 2002, and her debut album, Howa el Zaman, became an instant success.
A string of awards followed, as did recognition by various websites and magazines that elected her one of the most beautiful women in the world. She also performed a duet with Shaggy on his hit Sexy Lady, and in 2006, became the first Arab artiste to open for an international act when she performed at hip hop superstar 50 Cent’s concert in Lebanon.
Apart from designing her own line of jewellery, Haifa is also a spokesperson for Pepsi, and a representative of the BBC in its effort to encourage English as a second language in the Middle East.
Sobhi and Friends
Egyptian Prof Dr Sobhi Bidair was a pop singer in the 1970s, and later became an outstanding tenor in the classical world. He graduated from the Cairo Conservatoire and furthered his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, the European Opera Centre in Belgium and the L’Academie Maurice Ravel in France.
He will be performing with Arabic rock artiste Sadek Gallini and pianist Nayar Nagui, as well as a group of his students and friends.
One of the hottest young stars in the Middle East, Jordanian Toni Qattan started lessons in guitar and piano at the age of eight, and later formed a band that became famous in his hometown. His two singles, Betghib Alayah and Awetdini (Sahr il Layali), became instant hits and propelled the young singer-composer towards stardom.
Apart from his own repertoire, he also composes for other artistes, such as Lebanese singer Joe Ashkar and Arab superstar Diana Karazon. Toni was dubbed Motreb il Shabab by his young fans, which means “Youngsters’ No.1 Singer”.
Recently, he participated in the fourth annual charity marathon in Wadi Rum, Jordan, where he performed at an open-air concert in the desert.
This singer-composer has written for some of the most popular middle Eastern artistes, and has won some of the biggest awards in Lebanon and the region. Khoury started composing music while he was still a child, and in 1978, won a national prize for his efforts, presented by Lebanon’s then-president, Amin Gemayel.
His career as a composer kicked off in 1997 when he wrote and performed Lasbor Ala Wela for a compilation album. That song got him noticed and he went on to collaborate with various other artistes and became a renowned songwriter.
As a singer, he released his first album, Khayal El-Omr, in 2003, but it was his second, Koull El-Kasaied, that got the attention of the rest of the Arab world. His gift is his ability to switch effortlessly from standard Arabic to colloquial Lebanese.
Palestine’s leading folk dance troupe, El-Funoun was established in 1979 by a small group of talented artistes. Today, it enjoys unparalleled popularity in Palestine and among Palestinians in exile that some of its songs have become household tunes.
The troupe aims to express the spirit of Arab-Palestinian folklore and contemporary culture, with its special mix of traditional and stylised dance and music.
El-Funoun is made up of 50 dancers, singers, musicians and support personnel, and is a non-profit, volunteer-based organisation. It has toured the United States and Europe, and has had over 1,000 performances since its inception.
Concert tickets are priced from RM100 to RM350, while gala dinner tables are available from RM5,000 to RM25,000. For details, contact RPE (Tel: 03-20316606) or TicketCharge (Tel: 03-22419999).