Following the success of its inaugural season, the Sounds of Arabia music festival, organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, is set to start the new season with a bang with legendary Lebanese diva Majida Al Roumi.
"I am very happy to be here. I always feel so welcome when I am in the UAE, which is why I keep coming back to perform [here]. The people are very hospitable, the country is very beautiful. I hope that it will always remain as prosperous and peaceful as it is now," Al Roumi said on Sunday.
"I can't wait to perform for my fans here, it is an Arab country after all… and I always make sure that I sing from my heart."
Al Roumi, who shot to fame in the 1970s after winning the television talent show Studio Al Fan on Lebanese public television network Télé Liban, has performed in venues around the world and with internationally renowned artists, including opera star José Carreras. She performed a duet with Carreras at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
Known best for her unique soprano voice, Al Roumi's style has become defined as the combination of western classical music with Arabic classical music.
"When I am approached with a song, I have to love the song to sing it. It has to connect with me emotionally. If a song is written just for the sake of writing a song, then it just won't work," she explained.
The singer also ventured into acting. She starred in Awdat Al Ibn Al Dal (The Return of the Prodigal Son) by highly-praised Egyptian director Youssef Chahine in 1976.
"When I first started [acting], the civil war in Lebanon began. We lost many people and many years during that time. Afterwards, circumstances made me leave acting — some scripts were too commercial and some projects simply didn't work out," she said.
"But there isn't a day when I don't dream of returning to [acting]. I just hope that when I do, it will be for a film of epic proportions."
Al Roumi is also currently working on an album that is eagerly awaited by fans and critics alike.
"There is a slight delay in releasing my new album, because even though the music has already been recorded for it, I haven't been able to record any songs. I'm very busy until early next year."
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Majida Al Roumi will be performing tonight and on Thursday at the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi.