By Hanin Abu Alrub & Ghada Alkateb
Asala’s first performance on Thursday was marred by long delays as the nervous megastar and her group waited for the Jerash Festival audience to arrive in large numbers. No one can deny that waiting nearly four hours to perform before a large audience must have been extremely nerve-wracking. Her worried husband, Ayman Al-Thahaby, stood at her side for support. The singer had arrived at five to prepare for her concert and everything was ready to start by seven thirty. As the minutes of waiting ticked on into hours, the audience mainly Palestinian 1948 became increasingly restless and began chanting “ why are you sitting there,shame,shame. Go home.“
At long last, a “quorum” audience of about 1,500 had arrived, and the wait was over. After spending a few minutes backstage reading from the Koran, she emerged onto the stage to thunderous applause. The Syrian singer began with “Ya Al-Nater”, one of the most recent songs from her album. After her first few numbers, Asala was noticeably more relaxed and was soon dancing around the stage to the beat of the audience’s clapping hands. At the star’s request, the auditorium lights were dimmed and flaming lighters, like swaying fireflies, sent rhythmic ripples of dim yellow light washing over the darkened theatre. As her first performance ended, the excited audience gave Asala the rapturous applause the star so richly deserved.
Asala Nasri, the daughter of the well-known singer, Mustafa Nisri, began her singing career at the age of nine by focusing on patriotic and children’ songs. Her quick rise to stardom dates from her early television appearances, the first of which was on the TV. program “Stars” produced by a Jordanian, Hasib Yousef. Further television appearances have made her a popular star all over the Arab World.
Millions of art viewers joined the thousand of Asala Nasri fans in the packed South Theatre on Friday night for a spectacular live performance. Dressed for most of the show in black in respect for the late President Assad, she added three new songs to the program she sang on Thursday
Asala delighted the audience with many of her beautiful and popular songs as well as three new ones from her recent album. On Friday night, she was much more relaxed and her happiness radiated out into the audience.
In the middle of her performance, she asked everyone to stand for a minute’s silence in tribute to the late King Hussein and Syrian president Hafez Assad. The hushed silence that descended on the amphitheatre was a fitting tribute to two great leaders and statesman.
One special gift to the Jerash 2000 Festival was a beautiful Jordanian song that she sang in a shinning blue dress with Jordanian Folkloric singer Omer Abdallat. The harmonious duo sang for Jordan, King Abdullah and Queen Rania. Asala then asked Omar to sing Ya Saed, a kind gesture that set the theatre alight.
Asala’s stunning performance was certainly one for both the television and amphitheatre audience to remember.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )