On March 13, 2011 Al-Bustan and Trinity Center for Urban Life welcomed UNESCO Artist for Peace MARCEL KHALIFE to Philadelphia in a sold-out concert. The evening was a resounding success and will be remembered for years to come. Thanks to all who participated and attended!
The concert was the culmination of months of preparation by youth and adults learning a select repertoire of Marcel Khalife. With much time and dedication, Al-Bustan’s Music Director Hanna Khoury and Percussionist Hafez El Ali Kotain worked with students at seven sites introducing them to Arab culture and the music of Marcel Khalife. The ensembles included Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble, Swarthmore College, Wilmington Children’s Chorus, along with Moffet, Motivation, Northeast and Science Leadership Academy Schools.
Photos by Ayman Alalao:
The concert brought together almost 140 singers and instrumentalists performing selections of Khalife’s work, honoring his longstanding contributions globally and in the Arab world. The first part led by Hanna Khoury included 10 compositions by Khalife performed by The Philadelphia Arab Music Ensemble, with accompaniment by singers from the various schools. Sama’i Bayati was the opening piece, followed by Khalife’s most popular songs: Amuru Bismiki, Rakwet Arab, Ya Naseema Al-Rih, Fil Bali Ughniaton, Ya Sa’da, Muntasiba Al-Kamati, Asfoor, Amar El-Mraye, and Ya Bahriye.
When the guest of honor and his son Bachar Khalife took to the stage, the overjoyed audience greeted them with standing ovation. Moved by the performance and the dedication of the musicians, Khalife requested that they join him in singing Asfoor and Fil Bali Ughniaton again. It was an unrehearsed spontaneous joint-performance that created a magical sense of awe and joy in the hall.
In response to a highly enthusiastic audience, Marcel Khalife performed Ummi and Rita with his son, bringing tears of joy and emotion to many. The concert ended with everyone singing along to Muntasiba Al-Kamati, after Khalife graciously thanked everyone and saluted the youth and revolutionaries of the Arab world.
In honoring Marcel Khalife, Executive Director Hazami Sayed presented him with two gifts: an encaustic painting “Music of Peace” created by visual artist Tremain Smith, and a poster, designed by Ayman Alalao, comprised of all 140 student names in the image of Marcel Khalife with signatures of the participants.
Photos by Dana Scherer of Bamboo Photography:
Watch a selection of video clips below….to see more videos of the concert click here.
Asfoor (Sparrow) with Marcel and Bachar Khalife
Rakwet Arab (Arabic Coffeetpot) led by Music Director Hanna Khoury