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    Majida El Roumi
    Country: Lebanon

    Majida El-Roumi

    1956-

     

    Majida El-Roumi (Arabic: ماجدة الرومي, also transliterated as Majida Al Roumi) was born in Kfarshima, Lebanon on December 13, 1956. She is a Lebanese singer who started her musical career in the early 1970s when she participated in the talent show, Studio El Fan on Télé Liban and won the gold medal for best female singer. Since her appearance on television at the tender age of 16, she has become one of the most successful and respected singers of the Arab world as well as a UN Goodwill Ambassador.

     

    Biography

     

    Majida El-Roumi was born to renowned musician Halim El-Roumi and wife Marie Loutfi who were a Melkite Greek Catholic couple from Tyre, a city in South Lebanon. Halim El-Roumi became a renowned musician and continued to live in Kfarshima, which was home to many Lebanese singers, musicians, poets and writers, like the late Philemon Wehbi, Melhem Barakat and Issam Rajji. The residence of Halim El-Roumi in Kfarshima was a meeting place for many cultural figures. Growing up in such an artistic environment, Majida's interest in music started to show at an early age when she used to listen to the works of the prominent figures of that time, such as Fairuz, Umm Kulthoum, Abdel Wahab, Wadi AlSafi, and Asmahan. Her singing and beautiful voice attracted the attention of her family and neighbors. One of the early songs she used to sing (and which was actually saved on record) was a religious song called "Your Birth" or Miladak in reference to the birth of Jesus Christ.

     

    Raymond Safadi, Majida's cousin, was fascinated with her voice and thought that she could be very successful if she pursued singing as a profession. However, the big obstacle was her father who knew more than anyone else how difficult it was to work in the music industry. Although the father refused his daughter's participation in Télé Liban's Studio el fan, Majida, with the help of her cousin, Raymond, entered the talent show, singing songs for Asmahan and Leila Mourad, like Ya Toyour, Ana Albi Dalili, and Layali El Ouns Fi Vienna. The jury was impressed with her performance and her beautiful voice and awarded her the gold medal.

     

    Halim El-Roumi gave Majida his blessings to pursue singing as a profession as long as she continued her higher education. Despite the war in Lebanon in 1975, Majida obtained her BA in Arabic Literature from the Lebanese University.

     

    On September 17, 1977, Majida got engaged to a businessman from Byblos, Lebanon. Antoine Dfouni became not only her husband but also her manager. They had two daughters: Hala and Nour. Majida and Antoine later divorced in 2006.

     

    Majida lost her sister, Maha, to cancer. Before her death, she flew to her sister who was hospitalized in the United States and stayed with her for days. When she had to come back for a concert in Cairo, Majida dedicated a song to Maha, wishing a miracle would take place to heal her. When Maha died, Majida recited a poem she wrote at her funeral in a church in Kfarshima. Her sister's death lead her to produce several religious albums and held several religious concerts. She would later release a special song dedicated to Maha.

     

    In 2007 The Egyptian Singer Tony Kaldas wrote a song and sang as a dedication for her voice and the music was the italian famous melody "Love in Portofino". The song named "Negma men Negoum el sama" (Star of Sky stars) in Arabic and French.

     

     Career

     

    Majida's first single, "I Dream of You, O' Lebanon" (3am be7lamak Ya 7ilm Ya Libnan) was a song about her war-torn country. The song was written by Said Akel and composed by Elias Al Rahbani. In 1976, Majida starred in Youssef Chahine movie Awdat al ibn al dal (The Return of the Prodigal Son) providing also 3 soundtracks for the movie. Chahine introduced her as 'the Voice of the 20th Century' and received the 'Egyptian Critics Award'. Majida El-Roumi released her first self-titled debut album in 1977 containing 8 tracks. The album was a huge success and it launched Majida into stardom. Majida continued to produce very successful albums that Majida El-Roumi has performed at various festivals throughout the Arab world such as festivals of Beiteddine, Jerash, Bosra and Carthage as well as the Cairo Opera House. Majida collaborated with Nizar in the early 1990s, she presented his poems 'Beirut, Lady of Universe' (Beirut Sit El Dunia), 'Words' (Kalimat), 'With the Newspaper' (Ma' al Jarida) and 'The Jasmine Neckband' (Tawq al Yasamin). Qabbani was very surprised with the tremendous success of Majida's hit "Kalimat", especially since he had certain reservations on that poem. Majida takes a firm stand opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories and Israeli human rights violations. During her concert in Beirut on April 15, 2002, Majida said, "What is going now in Palestine is a crime against humanity, and I am here to say a final 'No!' to the Israeli occupation. To the Palestinians, I say, our hearts are with you; our souls are with you; justice is with you, and the land will always be yours." Majida El-Roumi also released the song, "Qana" , Anakid Al- Ghadab April 1996,as a form of protest against the massacre that the Israelis committed in the town of Qana in southern Lebanon.

     

    Majida performed "Light The Way," a duet with the international opera star, José Carreras, on December 9, 2006 during the opening ceremony of the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006.[1]

     

    Majida El-Roumi is currently working on her international career with entertainment firm, The Agency and Me, based in Europe and the Middle East. The strategy includes international duets, a new English language classical/contemporary album and a world class 'Broadway' style production, to be Directed and Produced by an Award winning international team from Los Angeles, New York, London and Sofia. With her last album and new material soon to be released, Majida El-Roumi is crossing borders with her fresh contemporary style of music, appealing to a greater international audience.

     

    In more than three decades, Majida El-Roumi has become a symbol and an idol for global audiences.On December 9, 2007 Majida El-Roumi gave a heartwrenching speech to Lebanese political leaders at a memorial for Gebran Tueni, a Lebanese politician.

     

     Discography

     

     Albums

     

        * Majida El-Roumi (1977).

        * Live Recordings (1982).

        * And the Children (1983).

        * Dawi Ya Amar (1987).

        * Ya Saken Afkari (1988).

        * Kalimat (1991).

        * Ibhath Anni (1994).

        * Rasayel (1996).

        * Ohebbouka Wa Baad (1998).

        * Cithare Du Ciel (Keetharat Al Samaa) (2003).

        * Erhamni Ya Allah (2003).

        * E'tazalt El Gharam (2006).

     

     UN Ambassador

     

    Majida El-Roumi was appointed an ambassador for the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on World Food Day, October 16, 2001 in an official ceremony in Rome, Italy.[2] She has participated in numerous round-table discussion on the role of FAO ambassadors in helping the Organization combat world hunger. As FAO ambassador, Majida inaugurated the First Annual Agricultural Week in Lebanon and dedicated the book prepared by FAO Sanabel El Kheir on 8 November 2005 during an official ceremony to celebrate World Food Day 60th Anniversary at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut.[3]

     

     Tributes and Awards

     

    National Order of the Cedar (Knight), Lebanon, 1994.

     

     See also

     

        * Nizar Qabbani

        * Halim El Roumi

        * Tareq Aakef

     

     References

     

       1.  Jose Carreras On Tour October - December 2006

       2.  United Nations Daily Highlights, 01-10-12

       3.  The situation of women domestic migrant workers in Lebanon

     

     External links

     

        * Majida El-Roumi Fan Site

        * Majida El-Roumi forum

        * Majida's fan site

        * Majida El-Roumi song lyrics, English translations and music videos on Shawshara.com

     

     


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