- Title: WEST BANK: French artists perform in the West Bank on World Music Day
- Date: 23rd June 2007
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE)(English)VALÃ‰RIE LEULLIOT, FRENCH SINGER, SAYING: "We played in Europe a lot, we played in United States; never here, never in Arab countries, first time." VARIOUS OF LEULLIOT'S BAND PERFORMING
- Embargoed: 8th July 2007 13:00
- Reuters ID: LVA5IY3SDJZCOAA7GYUB936HFJDK
- Story Text: The Palestinian Territories celebrated World Music Day on Thursday (June 21) alongside music lovers in over 250 cities around the world.
Held every year to mark the start of the summer season, 'La FÃªte de la Musique' (French for 'Festival of Music') began in France in 1982 and has since been exported around the world.
With the support of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture and the local al-Kamendjati association, the French Consulate in Jerusalem has organised concerts by international artists from June 15 to 27 in East and West Jerusalem and the West Bank cities of Nablus, Tulkaram, Jericho, Bethlehem and Hebron.
Performances that were scheduled in Gaza have been cancelled because of the deterioration of the security situation there.
ValÃ©rie Leulliot, a French solo artist, performed in Bethlehem's main university on Friday (June 22). She said it was her first trip to the Middle East.
"We played in Europe a lot, we played in United States; never here, never in Arab countries, first time," Leulliot told Reuters Television.
Formerly the lead vocalist of acclaimed French band 'Autour de Lucie' for more than ten years, Leulliot has released four albums and performed at hundreds of concert around the world.
Her new solo album 'Caldiera' -- meaning a subterranean volcanic implosion in Portuguese -- is a mix of Banjo, Oriental and European music.
The famous french singer said she was in Bethlehem to promote cross-culture dialogue through the universal language of music.
"Well I guess music is, you know, is a language everybody can understand and I am very happy that people who watched us and listened to us had a good time tonight. Because I am happy to make them happy and to bring something smooth and cool to them. The audience was really very receptive and very in the music, so it was a pleasure," she added.
Concertgoers were mainly university students happy to momentarily escape their daily troubles in the occupied West Bank.
"This music is foreign to us, we are used to Arabic music. But we heard that there was a concert by a French musician and thought we would come to see something new. After all, music is the language of the world, it is a way for everyone to communicate. And the music here is very good, even if we can't understand all the words, the singer has a lovely voice and lovely music," said Mohammad Abou Rajab, a student at Bethlehem University.
Other acts on the West Bank agenda include: Le Trio Innova, Laurent Assoulen, R.Wan, Check point 303, Souad Massi, and the Ensemble orchestral of Paris.
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