Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 30 September 2020

'I saw a tear in his eye': Emmanuel Macron meets Lebanese soprano Majida El Roumi

The French President told the singer he hoped to see Lebanese-French artistic collaboration in the wake of last month's devastating explosion

Lebanese soprano Majida El Roumi met French President Emmanuel Macron in Beirut this week. Instagram / Majida El Roumi
Lebanese soprano Majida El Roumi met French President Emmanuel Macron in Beirut this week. Instagram / Majida El Roumi

Fairouz was not the only legendary Lebanese singer Emmanuel Macron met while visiting Beirut.

The French President also encountered famed soprano Majida El Roumi, 63, on the same day he met the Ana La Habibi singer.

Macron invited El Roumi to a reception held at the official residence of the French ambassador to Lebanon on Tuesday, the Kalimat singer revealed.

"The French President wanted to conclude his visit to Lebanon by meeting Majida El Roumi, stressing his desire to highlight Lebanon's artistic and civilised image," a post shared to the singer's Instagram account on Wednesday, stated.

El Roumi has built a career melding classical Arabic arrangements with modern and historical regional literature. Over the past three decades, she has broken ground for Arab artists by performing on the hallowed stages of New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1990, London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1995 and the Athens Concert Hall in Greece in 2009.

The singer's Instagram post was accompanied by a series of images of Macron and El Roumi's meeting, including the two sharing a poignant embrace.

"El Roumi thanked him for everything he has done and is doing to serve Lebanon, referring to his visit to Fairouz, who touches the spirit of the beautiful exiled Lebanon that we love," the singer's post continued.

"The French President was touched by the eloquent woman, who saw a tear in his eyes. He therefore hugged her as if he was hugging the Lebanese people saying, 'you will all be fine'."

El Roumi said Macron also expressed a desire to see Lebanese-French artistic collaboration "to help Lebanon recover from its ordeal".

The massive explosion in Beirut port on August 4 killed at least 190 people, injuring more than 6,000 as it destroyed parts of the city and rendered about 300,000 people homeless.

Macron, who arrived in Lebanon on Monday before travelling to Iraq on Wednesday, also made a visit to the home of reclusive singer Fairouz, 84, while in the capital city.

The President visited Fairouz to award her the Legion of Honour, France's highest order of merit.

Macron described his meeting with Fairouz, who as a figure has almost become synonymous with the country's pain and glory, as "very beautiful, very strong".

"I told her everything that she represented to me, of a Lebanon that we love and that many are expectant of, a nostalgia that many have," he said.

After his meeting with her, Macron said his favourite Fairouz song is Li Beirut, a piece that is considered a rallying cry for many Lebanese people.

“I love you Lebanon my country,” the song opens. “They said what goes on in the land of festivals, strewn as it is with fire and dynamite? / I said our land is being reborn / The Lebanon of dignity and a people that perseveres / How could I help loving you? / Even in your madness I love you.”

Updated: September 3, 2020 06:26 PM

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