Pop singer Yara belts out a hit.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Arab music and culture fans in Al Ain were treated to a special Eid Al Fitr celebration with pop singer Yara and hit-maker Fouad Abdul Wahed taking the stage in a thrilling concert at the Al Ain Convention Centre. Yara opened proceedings on the special evening organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), to the delight of those in attendance; she entertained the audiences with hit songs such as Min al-aydeen, Sodfa and Ma Yhemak.
With the crowds in a celebratory mood, Arab star Fouad Abdul Wahed then took the microphone and showcased the depth of regional music with some of his classics such as Yal Beed, Al Hob Al Kbeer and Awsafek ajab. Complementing a year-long, varied roster of events, the Eid Concerts were organised as part of Abu Dhabi’s commitment to shine the spotlight on local talent and promote Arab culture.
Yara is a Lebanese pop singer who won the music competition broadcast on LBC Kass el-Nojoum in 1998, during which she had made a name by singing Awedak. She was discovered by Lebanese composer Tarek Abou Jaoudeh, who became her producer. He composed most of her first singles, including Hob Kbir.
Her first album, Twassa Feyi, was released in 2005. It has songs in the Egyptian and Lebanese Arabic dialects. It is said that her outstanding voice and presentable looks were the reasons that has made Yara one of the most famous Arab singers. She has participated in several international festivals and has made guest appearances on many TV programmes. She also works as an ambassador for the Lebanese Red Cross.
In 2006, Yara was featured in a duo with Fadel Shaker in the hit single Akhidni Maak. She then released several singles including Bahlam Be’neik, Law Bassely, Betlif El Donia and Sodfa. All the hard work paid off in 2007, when she received the Murex D’or Award for best emerging singer. In 2008, she released her second album Enta Minni, with the hits single also titled Enta Minni, which made her a superstar.
In 2009, after the success of her Khaleeji songs Sodfa and Haddi A’sabak, Yara released a full Khaleeji album entitled La’ale Khalijiya.
Here are some of the lyrics of Sodfa: “He greeted me and sat beside me and spoke to me; All barriers vanished between me and him; He took my hands in his hands and described me; And I didn’t wish my hands would leave his hands; All barriers vanished between me and him; And I didn’t wish my hands would leave his hands; From the day I saw him, my eyes came into his eyes
And when he smiled, he painted it in my face.” La’ale’ Khalijiya or Khaleeji Nights was her first album dedicated to Khaleeji pop. The move happened after her hit single Sodfa was well-received; people said her voice had the right pitch for the Khaleeji style of singing. Thus began Yara’s popularity among local audiences: she has since performed regularly in the region. Among others, she held an online concert for DCT Abu Dhabi, as well held the stage for an Eid performance in Sharjah at the Al Majaz Amphitheatre. She has also sung at Dubai Opera along with Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi.
For those who did not attend the concert and for those who are tone deaf, here’s what Wikipedia says about Khaleeji music:
“Khaleeji, meaning Gulf music, is the music of Eastern Arabia, the Gulf Arabian States and it is popular across the Arab world. It is traditionally characterised by heavy use of the rebab, oud and other string instruments such as the violin, the occasional use of habban, and the inclusion of percussion instruments such as the mirwas, tabl, and duff drums.
“Khaleeji music first started as a bedouin tradition with poetry sung by a tribe’s shaa’ir (poet), usually accompanied by a rebab; the lyrics dealt with tales of honour, love, camel riders, and glory warriors. Khaleeji music has roots going back more than 1,000 years, to the Islamic period, under the Umayyads and Abbasids in Baghdad, Iraq. In the modern era, Kuwaitis were the first commercial recording artists and composers in the Arabian Gulf region; Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia shaped the Khaleeji genre into its modern form in the second half of the 20th century and it soon became the focal point of the industry.
“But in recent years, the UAE has had an arguably bigger impact with musical artists such as Hussain Al Jassmi, Ahlam, and Mehad Hamad, dominating the charts. Their songs represent different music genres, in which many of them are Khaleeji.
“The Khaleeji scene is primarily populated by Iraqi, Emirati, Kuwaiti, Bahraini and Saudi artists today. Along with its main Arabian style, Khaleeji music can also sometimes incorporate elements of East African along with the Arabian genre, reflecting the region’s ethnic history.” Sidelight: Yara is a supporter of FC Barcelona and a fan of the football player Lionel Messi. During a visit to Spain in 2016, she attended the Manchester vs Barcelona match. Shortly afterwards, she was presented with the opportunity to meet Messi and other players. DCT Abu Dhabi is mandated to drive the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors, fuel economic progress and to help achieve Abu Dhabi’s global ambitions. Its vision is defined by the Emirate’s people, heritage and landscape.
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