The fusion of world music is the unofficial theme of this summer’s Beiteddine Festival, which will open with the musical Cats and close with performances by legendary singer Fairouz.
According to The Daily Star, the lineup for the 2002 festival, which runs from July 3 until August 10, includes Rai great Khaled, formerly known as Cheb Khaled, who will perform the same night as the “sheikh of Sha’abi music,” Egyptian artist Hakim. Oud and violin players Simon Shaheen and Qatara will also play Arabic-influenced jazz and blues music from their latest album, Blue Flame.
Festival coordinators are calling its one-night premier opera performance of tenor Jose Carreras with Lebanese soprano Rima Tawil the festival’s “pride,” and “a milestone in Lebanon’s lyrical history.”
Other cultural mixtures will include Tabla Beat Science, which fuses Indian rhythms with modern electronic beats. The July 19 performance will include seven performers and will be led by Zakir Hussein on tabla and Bill Laswell on bass.
Laswell, a New York-based musician and producer, will be one of the few Americans performing in Lebanon. Baalbek and Beiteddine, Lebanon’s most popular summer music festivals, historically were unable to attract popular American artists, although in the past both brought major Western pop stars such as last year’s performances by Elton John at Beiteddine and Sting at Baalbek.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, which opened in 1981 and was the longest-running musical in history, closed last Friday in London. Beiteddine will mark its first showing in Lebanon, and will be performed for six nights.
It will be followed by two nights of performances titled Mouwashah al Haramlek by composer and musician Zad Moultaka and singer Fadia Tomb al Hage. The two Lebanese trained and performed separately in Europe before releasing an album together two years ago.
Later in the month, famous German Cabaret singer Ute Lemper, who once starred in the Viennese production of Cats, will present her interpretations of songs by Kurt Weill, Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf. African superstar Youssou N’Dour, whose modern pop style helped him cross over to Western audiences, will also perform at the festival.
And for the third year running, the festival will close with performances by Lebanese diva Fairouz, who will be accompanied by her near-legendary musician son, Ziad Rahbani – Albawaba.com