Kathem Al Saher: Iraq always on my mind...
Sincere longing for his war-stricken homeland was the main theme of legendary Iraqi vocalist Kathem Al Saher's comments during a press conference held Sunday evening in Amman.
"Despite being away from my country for almost seven years, Iraq has always been a part of me. It is always on my mind ... during every concert I give," said Saher, whose latest feature is entitled, "Baghdad don't suffer."
For the vocalist, who is also a composer, artists have a responsibility to stress the unique wonders of their homeland, "which raised them and taught them their skills."
"Performers' feelings should also be a reflection of what their country is going through," he made clear.
For Saher, hope remains for the reconstruction of his war-torn country. "I often feel humiliated and put down by the images of war that pop up every day on television. But hope remains because I believe Iraq will be rebuilt by the hands of many intellectuals brought up on its land," said Saher, according to the Jordan Times.
Born in Iraq in 1961, Saher recognized his special talents and embraced music at an early age. Currently, he is the top selling singer in the Arab world - both in terms of recordings and concert ticket sales.
He has performed all over the world with some of his songs translated into foreign languages.
Being away from his home country, Saher divides his time between France, Canada and Egypt, where he does the majority of his recording. For the Iraqi renowned singer, music plays a key role in changing the image of Arabs in Western media.
"I hope someday we can change the images of desert, tents and camels," he said. Saher performed in the US shortly prior to the US-led war against Iraq. He believes he sent the right message about his country.
"Although it was a tough time to be an Iraqi in the US, the attention I received from the press was overwhelming. Many Americans approached me saying how can someone bomb a country that produces such music and culture."
Saher is in Jordan in the framework of the Souk Ukaz festivities. His performance expected to take place Monday evening will begin the festival and the series of musical concerts taking place at the downtown Roman Amphitheatre.
Saher's concert will feature a duo with legendary vocalist Sara Brightman. "I am very ecstatic about my experience with Brightman," said Saher, who recorded the song "The War is Over," with Brightman.
"I wanted to send one simple message through this song: We, as Arabs, need peace."
Meanwhile, those who plan to hear the concert Monday are in for an additional treat as Saher promised to present several pieces from his new album "Barefooted". (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)