Meet Majida el Roumi Posted by jesa on Jun 7, 2013 in Arabic Language, Culture
Marhaba! In this post, I want to introduce you all to another Arab music icon: Majida El Roumi (ماجدة الرومي). In addition to Fairouz and Julia Boutros, Majida is by far one of my favorite Arab artists. Born on December 13, 1956 in Kfarshima (كفرشيما) a few kilometers away from the capital Beirut in Lebanon, she began her musical career in the early 1970s. Her participation in Simon Asmar’s famous talent show called Studio El Fan (استديو الفن) launched her career. At this talent show, Majida won the gold medal for best female singer at the age of 16. Since then Majida has performed across different venues in the world spanning across different Arab nations and beyond. By all means, she is a well-respected musician and artist in the Arab world and beyond, and also a UN Goodwill Ambassador (سفيرة النوايا الحسنة).
Where does Majida’s story begin? She is the daughter of the famous Lebanese musician Halim El Roumi (حليم الرومي), the same person that supported Fairouz in the launching of her musical career in the 1950s. At first her father disapproved of Majida’s wishes to pursue a musical career and rather wanted her to aim for another career path. However, her obvious and shining talent changed Halim’s opinion and allowed Majida to pursue her musical dreams. As soon as her musical career took off in the mid-1970s, Majida caught the attention of a famous Egyptian filmmaker by the name of Youssef Chahine (يوسف شاهين). In 1977, Majida married Antoine Dfouni, a Lebanese businessman from Byblos. Dfouni was not only Majida’s husband but also her business manager. Majida and Antoine got divorced and ended all business collarabotion in 2006, for reasons that have been kept away from any press coverage.
One of Majida’s well recognized musical comebacks in the last 10 years has been her performance in Downtown Beirut amidst the waves of popular protests against Syrian occupation and tutelage in 2005. It was the first time that Majida performed her classic patriotic songs wearing jeans rather than her customary and traditional outfits. The crowds in Downtown Beirut, exactly gathered around Martyr’s Square (ساحة الشهداء), cheered for Majida as she performed songs that have become part of Lebanese popular culture.
Majida is the recipient of several notable awards including: the Golden Cedar in 1988 from Lebanon, National Order of the Cedar from the President of the Republic in 1994, the Shield of Honor from Morocco and the Order des Arts et des Lettres from France in 2013. In 2009, she received an honorary doctorate from the American University of Beirut (الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت )for her musical career and her constant drive and call for peace in Lebanon.
I have added two of my favorite Majida songs. The first is a patriotic song called ‘Ya Sit el Donia Ya Beirut’ (ست الدنيا يا بيروت) about the beauty of Beirut and how it has been destructed and rebuilt over and over again. The second is a love song called ‘Habibi’ (حبيبي) based on the well admired musical composition Adagio by the famous Italian Baroque composer Tomaso Albinoni. Both videos have English subtitles which allow you to understand the meaning of the lyrics and follow with the songs.
What do you think of these beautiful songs? Can you relate somehow to a similar music artist in your home country?
Stay tuned for more posts very soon!
Have a great day!
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