Mohamed Mounir performs in Jeddah, Friday 16 June 2023 (Photo courtesy of Benchmark)
Mounir, dubbed King, and the orchestra entertained hundreds of enthusiastic fans on Friday night in Jeddah’s Benchmark Theatre during an unforgettable concert titled "Meshwary" (My Career), sponsored by the country's General Entertainment Authority.
Lyrics of legendary poets like Abdel-Rahman El-Abnodi, Abdel-Rahim Mansour, Fouad Haddad and Kawthar Mosrafa, and melodies of iconic composers like Ahmed Mounib, Baligh Hamdi, Hany Shenouda and Kamal El-Taweel proved timeless as Mounir brought back memories of his hits from the 1970’s till the present.
El-Leila Ya Samra, Hadouta Masreya, Almouny Eineky, Ally Sotak, Shagar El-Lamon, Ashky Lmein, Sheta, El-Koun Kolo Beydor, Barra El-Shababeek, So ya So, Naanaa Algenina and Lelly are among the tunes that rocked the concert.
The set is being mixed and mastered and will be available as an album on music streaming platforms soon.
Despite his recent health problems, the 68-year old appeared fit, interacting with the orchestra and the crowd and giving one of his best performances in recent years.
He also thanked the authority for the tribute event.
Arsenal of musicians
The maestro Farahat led a breath-taking orchestral approach to tackle Mounir’s Nubian pentatonic scales as well as his Rock, Reggae, Latin and Jazz flavours that wisely blended with Arab-style strings sections as well as Egyptian and Khaligi rhythms.
Mounir’s long term friend and associate Fathy Salama played the piano and the keyboards. His Jazz arrangement influences was obvious in a number of tunes, especially the newly-added Latin part of Hany Shenouda’s Alemouny Eineky.
In addition to Salama, some of Mounir’s current band members also played a big role in making the concert as astonishing as it was, including bassist Andrea Seagone, guitarist Ousso Lotfy and saxofonist Nour Ashour.
Moreover; Salama was not the only Grammy-Award winner featured in the concert as the special guests also included vibraphonist Victor Moendoza, guitarist Juan ‘Paquete’ Jose and percussionist Jose ‘Bandolero’ Manuel.
To dazzle it more and more; the international star soloist’s arsenal also included harpist Victor Espinola and violinists Samvel Yervinyan and Sayaka Katsuki, as well as members of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra in addition to tens of Egyptian stars included in Farahat’s orchestra.
Saad and Cairokee
Mounir was accompanied by pop Shaabi star Ahmed Saad in So Ya So. The latter was keen to perform a short new mawal that praised the King’s career, before merging in Lelly, Mounir’s last year’s hit that is written by comedian Akram Hosni.
Furthermore, Egyptian rock band Cairokee introduced their version of El-Koun Kollo Beydour and Sheta while Mounir was seated and watching happily.
Mounir did not end his performance with El-Donia Risha Fi Hawa and Ashky Lmein as usual. This time he said goodbye to Saudi fans with Hadouta Masreya (Egyptian Story).
Mounir is a legend whose success crosses borders. His talent also extends to acting as he has starred in a number of film and theatre classics with big directors like Youssif Shahin and Khairy Beshara.
The King’s stardom rivals that of the biggest African music pop stars, such as Khaled, Youssou N’Dour, and Amr Diab, all of which he has collaborated with.