Jahida Wehbe brings 'Divas' to Dubai

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Experience the magic of iconic musicians like Edith Piaf and Umm Kulthum with Wehbe's concert today

By Enid Parker

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Published: Sat 29 Feb 2020, 11:58 AM

Last updated: Sun 1 Mar 2020, 2:25 PM

City Times caught up with singer Jahida Wehbe, who is bringing 'Divas' - a selection of classics from some of the world's best female musicians, from Edith Piaf and Mercedes Sosa to Umm Kulthum, today to The Theatre, Mall of the Emirates. Presented by Art For All, the show gets underway at 8pm. Tickets are available at Platinumlist. 
You are performing a tribute to some of the world's greatest female singers. Why did you choose these particular singers to pay tribute to?
Since my childhood, I used to listen to these Divas, who to me were "The Goddesses of Music", each one of them singing in different styles. With time, and after I studied music and theatre and focused on Oriental singing and the Opera, I found out that I could sing their songs but in my own style. I am blessed with a voice that can sing several genres and move smoothly from the popular to the classical.
Edith Piaf is French, Mercedes Soso is Argentinian and Umm Kulthum Egyptian. How do you bring all these different cultures together in one voice?
I spent more than 15 years studying Oriental and Western music, from the musical theory to the applied music. I studied in depth the lives, the styles, and the performance techniques of these Divas. In addition, I learnt to play some musical some instruments that expanded my musical energies. Umm Kulthum especially was a great symbol since my childhood. We all learned from her and were influenced by her wonderful methods. As for Piaf, I previously presented her songs in Arabic and French, specifically on the occasion of the centenary of her birth. I sang 15 songs in the French Bobeno Theater in which she sang for the last time. Sosa, I loved her songs and her voice always cheers me up; I will also present it in Arabic and Spanish. I am also passionate for the work of Fayrouz, Asmahan and others; I am working on translating beautiful poetry and songs burdened with sublime meanings and magical metaphors, I want to convey beauty in poetry and songs to people so that it becomes accessible to everyone. My experience in theater and acting also made me dive into the drama of the performance of "Divas" - I managed to reach their characters through their voices, but adapted it to my style. 
How has music helped you grow as a person and what is your philosophy of music?
Singing and music in general give noble meaning of my life, heal me and embrace me, give tangible dimensions to my soul in its solutions in the present and in its future quests. With it I grew up, learned, danced and cried and in it I shed all my tears of joy and sorrow. With it I learned that any simple act in life requires passion and persistence, love and sincerity. And with it, I learned to give without limits.
And every time I go up on the stage I give all that I have, because maybe after that I will not have the opportunity to be on stage. There is no philosophy on the subject. We all know, had it not been for music, our life would have been a mistake, as Nietzsche says; music is what unites all peoples despite their differences and feuds, and we need to be motivated to listen to them so that the horizons of people are wider, their imaginations are fertile, and their souls are purer.
Who is the one international artist you would love to perform / collaborate with?
Andrea Bocelli. 
How do you feel about performing in Dubai at the newly opened theater at Mall of the Emirates?
I am excited about this experience with Art for All at Mall of the Emirates.
And I feel that this theater will bring me closer to people from different backgrounds and age groups. Singing in Dubai is always a different and splendid flavor because it is the "city of communication" and the audience is diverse and eager to learn, and has a rich cultural mosaic and positive energy! 

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