05 April 2007


The Post below is from 6 months ago. I re-post it here in honor of Marcel's Detroit concert tonight. A group of 16 of us bought tickets and are going together. Although I have attended a dozen or so of his concert since the 80's, this is the first time he will perform in Detroit's posh Max Fisher Center, home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I'm taking with me an old vinyl copy of his "Ahmad Al-Arabi" album, and will try to get it autographed by Marcel. My hope is to get the same album autographed by Mahmoud Darwish as well, if he ever comes anywhere close to Detroit.

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Marcel Khalifé is the Bob Dylan of the Arab World. We grew up listening to his music and song. His older repertoire, which we grew up on in the 80's, is a folk music sung for the people during the hardest periods of the Lebanese and Palestinian struggles, such as this video below. He sang for the common people's political, social and personal concerns, many times putting to music the poetry of such notables as the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

His newer repertoire, although not departing completely from the tradition of the socially conscious folk song, is more inclined towards experimenting with instrumentals, namely a hybrid of Classical Arabic music and Western orchestral music, by introducing the Oud (large Arabic lute) into his more complex orchestral compositions such as
this video clip from his newest (upcoming) "Taqasim" Album:

Listen to other recent instrumentals from recent years; this clip is from the Album "Concerto Al-Andalus"

Or the earlier groundbreaking "Oud Duo" (mid 1990's), where he pits two Ouds in a musical discourse of sorts:

In the Album "Concerto Al-Andalus," where he instroduced many instrumental works, he shows that he is still fond of song, by including vocal works in the same album such as:

Many instrumental works followed Oud Duo, such as this clip from the album "Muda'aba" (Caress):

In 2005 Marcel was given the title of "Unsesco Artist for Peace." In 2006, he used this podium to make a stand for Lebanon and Palestine: Read


jij said...

nice tribute to one of our greatest musicians ever. It is understandable that Khalife has moved on from his overtly activist stage to a more serious experimentation with music. However I think it is impossible to detach him from that previous iconic image. That was obvious in the last concert he played in Beiteldine, where people really reacted much much better to his old songs (about Palestine, about the South, about resistance, etc) than to his newer musical numbers (which it must be said were wonderful). Now that was one magical night.

hillz said...

I was listening to "tosbi7oona 3ala wa6an" when I logged to ur blog! :)

I think "tosbi7oona 3ala wa6an" can be considered as the bridge between the two phases of marcel music, no?
I mean, taking care about the music arrangment with sticking to the subjects he succeeded in (resistance,national commitment ...).

One of the amazing songs of the second phase is "ya naseema erroo7i".

Anonymous said...

some hip shit. got to admit.



transient said...

Two minutes from quiting my job, burning all my life's work and smashing my head with a $36,000 peice of technology, I visited your khalefic blog and was dealt the delectible discourse of the oud, Marcel saved me, thank you for this post. Now I must move...

Bob in DC said...

Ibn Bint Jbeil,

You may find Dave Brubeck's music interesting. He studied tonality and rhythm in Southwest Asia.

Also, I missed your comment on my poem "Smiles" until after I changed it! Lesson learned -- next time I will begin a new entry.


Mar said...

Thank you IBJ... I never listened to "Ammuru Bismki", and I am someone who adores Khalife, kif hek? fi shi ghalat! That's intoxicating, his 3oud, your choice of post... Thank you neighbor of the east, and when I visit the west...
We should meet when I do.

jooj said...

Thx for this post ibj.

I have been playing "tosbi7oona 3ala watan" CD in my car almost daily for the last two months. It is about time I buy and listen to his newer CD's.

Mirvat said...

thank you for this post.. i loved his speech

Hamze said...

Marcel’s music was definitely a very important part in shaping my personality; Especially the patriotic side of it. His music transcends the generations to affect not only you who grew in the 80's, but us in the late 90's as well.
His songs speak of concerns, rebellions and hopes of all generations under oppression in all its kinds.
Beautiful new instrumentals too.


Anonymous said...

Nice post (actually nice blog overall)..I LOVE Marcel, everyword in every song..his songs, Darwish's words kept us company for long years. There is a DVD/documentary about him (produced around 2-3 years ago), it is great ..except I ruined it since I watched it too many times.
I happen to like his new music very much as well, last concert in NY was a dose I really needed.
Ammor bismik is one of my favorites among the new songs.
thanks for the links:)

bint el nabatieh

Anonymous said...

very disapointed, there was no energy and the aqoustics sucked in the "posh" hall. Marcel is the best but I didn't sence a Marcel Concert more like a guest appearance. We got robbed. A.C.C.E.S.S. sucks.

Anonymous said...

Did you clap along and create waves with flags of nations besides this nation that were smuggled into the arena, because if you did, I am a fool for missing it.

Mar said...

How was it! I saw him in Ann Arbor 2 years ago... on the first day of ramadan.. we got there pretty late and we had a big fight ( the family) before we got there and it continued upon arrival. I had a fight with my mom too and cried my heart out when he sang " Oumi" ... she was there right next to me but I felt we were oceans apart..I held her hand and kissed her cheek w khalas... he signed my CD, to Samar, with Love... wish I was there this time... how goes it?

Ibn Bint Jbeil said...

Yes Tree, we clapped, we whistled, we hooted, we sang along, we yelled, we laughed.

Hi _ _Mar Mar_ _ _ _!!!
It was a great night!!! Read transient's post about it, I also commented on his post about what I tought. Nshallah next time he plays in Lubnan we are all there to hear and see him.

Mone said...

Nice! I haven't listened to him for at least 10 years!

AM said...

As we say in Gulfy Arabic, tal 3omrak 3ala hal post :)