'Da word is out: Lebanon's ready to scream and shout at Byblos International Festival
The program has been unveiled. At the Byblos Sur Mer Hotel Monday morning the organizers of the Byblos International Festival announced the lineup of performers who will tread the boards of this summer’s event.
Byblos will open with a pair of shows by the Greek superstar Yanni on June 30 and 31.
Yanni has played such international venues such as Puerto Rico’s 16th-century Castillo San Felipe Del Morro, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The concert, part of his World Without Borders tour, will mark his first visit to Lebanon.
He will be accompanied by his talented troupe of vocalists and musicians and is expected to perform some of his greatest tunes, as well as compositions from his latest album “Truth of Touch.”
For those more into guitar riffs, the symphonic metal band Nightwish promise to set Byblos’ stage alight on July 4. This Finnish band, which is now in the midst of its own world tour, combines orchestral arrangements with metal instrumentation. Formed in 1996, the band quickly rose to international fame. They will likely perform “Imaginaerum,” from their last record, along with such classic tunes as “Wish I Had an Angel.”
The multitalented Ceelo Green (aka Thomas DeCarlo Callaway) will take stage on July 8. A vocalist and judge on the U.S. version of televised talent show “The Voice,” Ceelo Green is equally well-known as a record producer and actor. This singer-songwriter has generated such hits as “Crazy,” “Forget You” and “Bright Lights Bigger City.”
Promoted as a femme fatale and fashion icon as well as a performer, U.S. singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey (full name Elizabeth Woolridge Grant) will be at Byblos for a one-night stand on July 10. Her song “Video Games” brought her outstanding international success, which propelled her to join the ranks of the Anglo-Saxon world’s top new musical figures.
Del Rey would like people to know she is more than just a classy bimbo with a nice voice. She says her image has been influenced by such figures as Elvis Presley and Janis Joplin as well as film noir. The performer defines herself as “a self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra.” Now her Byblos audience will be able to find out what that means.
Nowadays in the midst of their Electric Tour, the iconic U.K. duo Pet Shop Boys are scheduled to parachute into Byblos on July 13.
These heroic vestiges of the 1980s have the distinction of having been listed as the most successful duo in U.K. music history by The Guinness Book of Records. It’s assumed they will perform those tunes that sold 50 million records – “West End Girls,” “It’s a Sin,” “Go West” and “Always on My Mind.”
No summer festival season would be complete without a performance of music from the Rahbani songbook. “Rahbani Summer Night” will take the Byblos stage over two nights (July 17-18). Created and produced by Ghadi and Oussama Rahbani, this concert features tunes by the iconic Lebanese Rahbani brothers team.
The show will feature performances by musicians of the Rahbani School, accompanied by the Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of maestro Vladimir Sirenko.
Lovers of the music of Andalusia will be pleased to welcome iconic guitarist Paco De Lucia to the Byblos stage on July 22.
The world’s most renowned living flamenco innovator, known for blending flamenco tradition with jazz modalities, De Lucia will be accompanied in Byblos by an ensemble of Spanish and Cuban musicians.
The program veers back to Lebanon on July 24 when soprano Samar Salame performs “Crazy Opera,” a show that blends Western and Eastern orchestras, with the latter led by oud virtuoso Ziyad Sahhab. Professional dancers will also go on stage. “Crazy Opera” is nothing like a classical night at the opera and should amaze the Byblos audience with its originality.
Last but not least, Scorpions will draw a curtain on the festival on July 26-27. Popular demand made the veteran German rockers’ management decide to include a Byblos date on the band’s final world tour, Rock‘n’roll Forever. They are expected to interpret such famous tunes such as “Still Loving You” and “Wind of Change.”
The Byblos International Festival will be on from June 30 until July 27. For more information, please visit www.byblosfestival.org.
By Chirine Lahoud