Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 August 2019

Carole Samaha performs in Damascus while waving Syrian flag – in pictures

The Lebanese singer played to an adoring crowd in the beautiful medieval palace on Saturday night

The Citadel of Damascus is a striking medieval palace that dates back to around 1076 (although most of the buildings seen there today are from the Ayyubid Period of 1174 to 1260).

On Saturday night, Lebanese singer Carole Samaha performed a concert in the Unesco World Heritage Site, and to rapturous applause.

Samaha was seen holding the Syrian flag during the performance while the crowd cheered her on.

The singer was criticised by some last month for agreeing to perform in the war-torn country, but she took to Twitter at the time to insist her decision was all about singing for Syrian fans and was not a political one.

Samaha posted this video of her and her team singing as they were driving to Damascus for the performance.

Translated from Arabic, this is what she sings near the end of the video: “We are on our way to Sham / I’m so happy / I miss the people of Sham so much / I will meet you tonight at Layali AL Alaa (Nights at the Fort) festival in the most beautiful Sham and the most beautiful Syria.”

The word 'Sham' can be used as a sort of synonym for Syria.

The show was part of the Damascus Citadel Nights Festival, which also saw a performance by Fares Karam:

The National spoke to Samaha at Mawazine festival in Morocco last month, where she revealed she'd love to have the opportunity to act in theatres more.

“The theatre, particular musical theatre, is in my blood. That’s where I started and where I have some of my best memories,” she says. “I would love to do more of that. But to be honest with you the opportunities to do that are becoming increasingly rare, and that is because there is not a lot of investment in Lebanon when it comes to theatre. Investors and sponsors are still scared about doing that as they feel that it is a financial risk.”

“It is tough to be in control of your own vision while at the same-time trying to follow what is happening in the market,” she says. “What I do is that I try as much as I can to stay true to myself. An artist has to be stubborn and keep going, and as long as people are responding to what you do then you are on the right path.”

Updated: July 14, 2019 11:12 AM

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