Marcel Khalife | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Marcel Khalife


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Each of the three recordings I've heard by Lebanese composer and oud player Marcel Khalife contains an odd amalgam of musical styles that include traditional Arabic sounds, thick strains of the Western classical tradition, pop melodies in the Tin Pan Alley mold, and the sprightly bounce of classic Hollywood film scores. Extremely popular among Palestinians throughout the Middle East, Khalife found his voice during Lebanon's civil war in the 70s, gaining notoriety while performing in abandoned Beirut concert halls amid carnage and confusion. Recent recordings like Summer Night's Dream and Arabic Coffeepot (both available on the Lebanese Nagam label) capture his unusual fusion and provide a rare glimpse at popular Middle Eastern music. He's currently touring the U.S. with a stripped-down group. Joining him is Charbel Rouhana, also on oud, Aboud El Saadi on electric bass, and Ali El-Khatib on riq (Arabic tambourine). The quartet performs a new Khalife work, "Jadal: A Composition for Two Ouds," which pays tribute to poet Khalil Gibran. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Curie High School, 4959 S. Archer; 436-6060.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →