Ziad Rahbani, Yasmina to star at Zouk Mikhael Festival, Lebanon
Yasmina, 16, came second only to breakdancer Salah in the finals of Arabs Got Talent in March 2015. (Screenshot)
While most of the upcoming summer festivals try to cram their rosters with heaps of talent, the Zouk Mikael International Festival seems to gravitate toward quality rather than quantity. ZMIF aims to promote local talent while simultaneously hosting international artists. Last year, the festival produced the internationally well-received album “Naseej,” which featured artists Mike Massy, Sary and Ayad Khalife. Massy went on to perform in “Kan yama Cannes,” a concert of French and Lebanese tunes, at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Festival organizers announced the slim lineup for the 12th edition of the festival Wednesday. At a news conference at the Four Seasons Hotel, organizers continued to assure prospective audiences that all necessary security precautions where being taken.
One of Lebanon’s best-known singer-songwriters, Ziad Rahbani will launch the festivities with his performance at Zouk Mikael’s 2500-seat Roman amphitheater on July 23. Rahbani, who was present at the conference, is the son of famed composer Assi Rahbani and Nouhad Haddad, more commonly known as Fairuz.
It’s expected Rahbani will repeat his previous success in flooding the amphitheater with hoards of fans. Concert-goers can expect the composer and his ensemble to deliver a diverse playlist, including oriental, jazz, funk, pop and bossa nova.
Things turn nostalgic at the amphitheater a couple of days later (July 25) with “A Tribute to Oum Koulthoum.” The legendary Egyptian vocalist’s tunes will be brought to life by Yasmina, one of Egypt’s rising young stars, as accompanied by an ensemble of Egyptian musicians.
The 16-year-old Yasmina rose to celebrity when she made the finals of Arabs Got Talent – MBC’s regional franchise of the successful America’s Got Talent.
Accompanying the young vocalist and her Egyptian accompanists will be the Lebanese National Oriental Orchestra, under the baton of the prominent Cairo-based Palestinian conductor Salim Sahab.
The artistic director of the Cairo Opera House, Sahab is credited with founding the National Arab Music Ensemble.
The 2015 edition of ZMIF will be brought to a close with a theatrical bang on July 28, thanks to “One Night on Broadway.” The festival program promises “a performance made up of a collection of musical scenes from various Broadway shows interpreted by 50 Lebanese dancers and singers.”
The dance troupe will be led by Roy Khoury and will also feature such familiar names as Manel Mallat, Kristian Abouanni, Andrea Bou Nehme and Corine Metni. An orchestra conducted by Kamal Saikaly will accompany the vocalists.
Danish all-girl trio “The Swing Sisters” will also be performing and are expected to keep things jovial with their renditions of classic 1940s tunes.
The Zouk Mikael International Festival takes place July 23, 25 and 28.