An explosion of musical creativity shared by a room full of reactive listeners.
On December 3, 2016 Marcel Khalife gave a riveting performance with the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble at the Unitarian Society of Germantown in Philadelphia. Internationally renowned Lebanese cultural icon and Al-Bustan guest artist/honorary advisory board chair, Khalife was accompanied by his son Rami Khalife — a virtuoso pianist and composer who performed the US premiere of his composition with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia the following day.
The evening was a tribute to the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008), a long time friend and source of inspiration for Khalife. Dr. Huda Fakhreddine introduced Darwish and his significance in Arab culture and read with beautifully nuanced Arabic oratory skills a selection of Darwish’s poetry. Yatir Al-Hamam / The Pigeons Fly is one of Darwish’s last poems which Khalife set to music and released on the album titled Andalusia of Love in March 2016. The soft lyrical opening of the composition highlighted Rami on piano, gradually incorporating the Takht members with Marcel’s signature oud playing and singing, and ending with an energetic instrumental piece with all the musicians shining.
Of course an evening with Marcel Khalife would not be complete without his popular songs like Fil Bali Ughniyatun, Amuru Bismiki, and Shiddu-l Himmeh, which had fans in the audience joyously clapping and singing along. As attendees told us afterwards:
Fabulous, dynamic, community singing along!
Amazing world-class music by Marcel Khalife, Rami Khalife and Al-Bustan.
A moving and beautiful concert!
The setting was perfect: grand, but intimate.
What a pleasure to welcome Rami Khalife in Philadelphia for the first time and to greet Marcel Khalife again in our city of brotherly love – Shukran!
Photos by Chip Colson