Nélida Nassar 08.09.2013
More than two thousand fans attended the launch concert of Beirut Holidays 2013 last night featuring singer Nancy Ajram at the Beirut Souks, Lebanon. Ajram appeared on stage in a silver metallic dress with several folds and a train, immediately setting the tone for her concert. Her hair in the wind, wearing very high silver heels which almost looked like stilts, she was quick to start moving – dancing would have being too hard at such height! She also thanked the spectators and singled out her husband and the VIPs in the audience.
If she offered to her fans – mostly teenagers and adolescents – some of her early songs such as Ihsase Jadide, “A New Feeling”, Dunia Heluwa, “Life is Beautiful”, or Sheher Ouyouno, “The Magnetism of His Eyes”, it was her last album, Shaggaa Be Alamak, “Waving Flag” that she concentrated on. Throughout the show, surrounded by twenty-nine musicians, she invited the audience to sail trough different worlds, from sweet melodies and rhythms, to pop and reggae, even taking some daring risk, as with Sheikh El Shabab, “The Brave One”, which blends ska and Eastern sounds. Her lyrics are more elaborate than in the past, the result of her collaboration with lyricists Ayman Bahgat Amar and Tarek Madkour in particular. She expressed a multifaceted personality and repertoire singing her signatures and Warda’s songs of love and yearning such as “Ana Bitwanase Feek, “I Enjoy Your Company”.
After she retreated at the end of the first act, the concert continued with Rony Barak’s vigorous and colorful playing of the bass and the derbaké. Ajram reappeared on stage sporting a royal blue dress, long behind and short, with hanging fringes, in front, and red high heels. She proceeded with her upbeat repertoire of old and new hits that seemed autobiographical given the presence of her husband and children in the audience: Lowne Oyounou, “His Eyes’ Color”, Mashi Hadi, “You Walk Next to Me”. She concluded her concert with her seminal tune Ya Ghali Alaya, “Beloved One”.
Ajram gave a very refreshing and vibrant performance in front of a huge screen with multi-colored psychedelic patterns made of hearts, roses and abstract shapes. In the first act, she created a completely different atmosphere, a more lyrical one, singing simple texts and delivering footprint poetry, tenderness and humor. She told her audience stories of love and life, occasionally punctuating her voice with energetic notes.
Ajram’s success is in small part due to the quality of her voice. Her fame has to do mostly with the fact that she is promoted by powerful TV and radio channels, as well as the excessive marketing of commercials and in particular by Coca Cola’s exclusive endorsements. Promoted at the onset of her career by Jiji Lamara, an experienced producer and manager, and endowed with a physique and a sweet innocence that made the teens dream, Nancy was the ideal TV invited guest to all the stations who wanted to rejuvenate their ratings in the 2000s. The result of this exposure was clear: Extended coverage on Arabica TV, MTV Lebanon, TV Channel MBC3, and the Children’s Entertainment Show “Star Zghar”.
Music awards, The Golden Lion Award, Egypt and Murex D’Or Awards, Best Arab Female Artist, Oscar al-Noujoum have also helped. Incidentally, she has sold nearly forty million albums and is a multi-platinum recording artist.
The singer does not owe everything to others. She has the qualities of a fine, hardworking professional artist. So when her popularity is down, she always finds a way to bounce back. Lately, it was because of her nomination as Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF that she was placed back under the spotlight. She does not appear in glossy folders, People’s magazine, or the tabloid press, and she had not had any scandalous love affairs with celebrities. Faithfully married to a dentist, she is the doting mother of two daughters.
Rather discrete, beautiful and elegant, the pop star is a good role model for the Lebanese and the Arab World’s millennial generation. She is also the first and only Middle Eastern artist ever mentioned by The Oprah Winfrey Show and dubbed as the Britney Spears of the Arab World. The Beirut Holiday 2013 launched a successful, populist concert by a very popular artist.