The upcoming installment of the Arabesque series is clearly going for broke. The January 25 concert at the Tel Aviv Museum will include a performance of the best-known work in the classical Arabic repertoire "Inteh Omri (You Are My Life)" made famous by Oum Kolthoum, the acknowledged queen of Arab vocalists.
As the full rendition of "Inteh Omri" lasts about 30 minutes, it is often performed in an abridged version. This Thursday, however, the Arab Orchestra of Nazareth will present the full-blown work, along with other compositions, conducted by Nizar Radwan and featuring Lubnah Salameh as vocalist.
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The concert will not be just about aural excitement, as the musical entertainment will be augmented by the visual delights of belly dancer Tamar Bar-Gil. In addition, music lovers looking to fathom some of the mysteries of classical Arabic material will be given some help by actress Shosha Goren, who will read out a Hebrew translation of "Inteh Omri." The musical entertainment will also be interspersed by explanations of the pieces in the program, courtesy of musicologist Suheil Radwan.
Oum Kolthoum started singing at a very young age in her native Egypt. Her father was a muezzin (mosque prayer crier), and she learned to sing verses from the Koran, although she initially had to dress as a boy to perform the liturgical material in public. She quickly became renowned throughout the Arab world. At the height of her fame she would perform a new work on Cairo Radio once a week, bringing all life in the Egyptian capital and other Arab countries to a standstill.
Salameh has paid her musical dues in a variety of areas. Besides performing many staples of the classical Arab repertoire, she has also sung with Radiohead soloist Thom Yorke, Turkish world-music star Omar Farouk Tekbilek and many Israeli artists, including David De'Or, Shlomo Gronich and Zehava Ben.
The Arab Orchestra of Nazareth and Lubnah Salameh will perform at the Tel Aviv Museum on January 25 at 8:30 p.m. There will be another concert at Heichal Hatarbut in Petah Tikva on February 22 at 8:30 p.m.