"When I was going to school, we were laughing, singing and dancing. That was it," he said.
"That was my childhood."
Khalife met the press at Byblos sur
The maestro's celebrity extends well beyond
In 1976, Khalife founded Al-Mayadine Ensemble, the maqam group that will accompany his show at Byblos. The ensemble has found international acclaim for its renditions of several of Khalife's numbers, among them "Oummi" (My Mother) and "Rita wal-Bundaqiya" (Rita and the Riffle).
Several soloists will join Al-Mayadine on stage Thursday. Bandeonist and accordionist
"Music is about sharing and exchanging ideas," Labro told
The evening's playlist will also include some beautiful poetry – ranging from the verse of Marhmoud Darwish to Ounsi al-Hage and
Khalife and Al-Mayadine will be accompanied by 80 musicians from the
Khalife the elder expressed his deepest attachment to acoustic music, but is also known for trying to bring something new to his work, rather than erecting barriers.
"I did a trio with Rami and Bachar," he recalled. "It was electronic and acoustic at the same time. It was a beautiful experience."
After a long spell touring the world with his music, Khalife has returned to Byblos. "With the millions [of] concerts I did, it always feel[s] like the first one," he said with some emotion in his voice, "especially in Byblos, because it is my hometown. It is the earth of my music, of my songs."
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