On Friday, Lebanese musical prodigy, UN Goodwill Ambassador, and Humanitarian activist, Majida El Roumi took to the historic El-Quba Palace’s stage in Egypt in what was the venue’s first ever public concert since it was built in 1872. This was El Roumi’s first concert since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, she dazzled attendees with her beautiful voice and classic singles, but by the end of her performance, everyone was moved to tears, and it wasn’t because of her music.
In a heartwarming 4-minute ode to Beirut, El Roumi spoke of the many calamities the ancient city had faced throughout its history and how the resilience of the Lebanese people always proved crucial. In her speech, she referred to last year’s Beirut explosion and how it could have wrecked Lebanon, only if it wasn’t for the perseverance of its people.
Using only words, she painted a picture of the young men and women of this beautiful Levant country in times of crisis; how they get together to honor their dead, remove the broken glass, and then rebuild their country. In her eyes, it was a scene as old as time. By the end of it, El Roumi’s words had moved the hearts of hundreds.
Majida El Roumi was and continues to be one of the defining pillars of Lebanese as well as Arab music since the second half of the 20th century. She was born to the Lebanese Musician Halim El Roumy, who is credited for reviving Lebanese music and discovering many of its artists, including the legendary Fairouz. Majida grew passionate about art and music. At the age of five, she sang to Umm Kulthum, Abdelwahab, and Asmahan, and soon enough, family members started to realize that the young girl had a talent for singing.
Throughout the following years, Majida El Roumi discovered her musical capabilities and sang on numerous occasions. However, the release of her first single “Am Behlamak” in 1974 marked her rise to the spotlight. Since then, she has been one of Lebanon’s most defining figures.