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Lydia Canaan (in Arabic ليديا كنعان) a Lebanese singer (mezzo-soprano vocal range), songwriter, poet, a leading and a pioneering figure in the Middle Eastern music scene, whom the Arab media hailed as the First Female Rock Star in the Middle East, a big supporter and advocate of women empowerment, humanitarian and social causes from Brummana, Lebanon. Born and raised in Lebanon during the Civil War (1975-1990), daughter of the family Canaan (also written Kanaan) from Mount Lebanon. She is listed as a Celebrity in her native town of Brummana  and studied at the famous British Brummana High School. From a young age music and singing were an essential part of her life. Canaan grew up in a conservative family, her father did not entertain the idea of his daughter becoming an artist, so she was deprived of a musical education. However, Canaan developed early on the talent to write poetry and lyrics in English, although her Lebanese upbringing ensured that she knew Arabic and French as well, and an unusual talent to compose songs without the help of any instrument, storing lyrics and tunes in her memory. Since her first public appearance, then known as Angel, she staged over 25 sell-out concerts in the country from 1984 until 1988, despite risks and dangers by warring militas and armies, recorded her songs for radio and topped the charts in Lebanon.
In 1983 Canaan, a pre-teenager, joined the Rock band Equation who were adamant on finding a male lead singer until Canaan's audition. The band had great success, attracting 15'000 strong crowds at their height.
Canaan's first composition "Why All The Hurt", a tribute to a deceased friend, was number one in the Lebanese Radio Charts. Canaan's trademark was her long dyed blonde hair to the hips and leather outfits.
1987 Canaan went solo until she left Lebanon in 1989.
After a successful career in Lebanon pioneering as the First Female Rock Star of the Middle East, Canaan settled in Zurich/Switzerland, where part of her family lived, took vocal lessons with soprano Anita Monti, worked with writers, musicians and producers in Switzerland, UK and US, like Harry Borner, David Richards (Montreux Jazz Festival, Queen, Chris Rea, David Bowie), Roger Taylor (drummer of Queen, recorded a duet "Love and Lust"), Robin Scott (group M with world hit "Pop Muzik", recorded duets "Spiritual Man", "The Bridge", "Guardian Angel"), Barry Blue (Dina Carroll, Patricia Kaas), The Rapino Brothers (Kylie Minogue, Take That, Corona), Michael Jay (Celine Dion), Noel Cohen (Phyllis Hyman), Keith "Plex" Barnhart (Chaka Khan), Tommy Mandel (keyboarder of Bryan Adams, Ian Hunter Band).
In December 1990, Canaan gave an interview and her songs received airplay on Radio Z, Zurich/Switzerland
Canaan was signed for two years to London based production company Spinny Music of Jim Beach (manager of Queen, Freddie Mercury) to write and record her own songs (lyrics and music), produced by David Richards (Queen, David Bowie, Chris Rea, Montreux Jazz Festival) at Mountain Studios in Montreux/Switzerland. In London Canaan took vocal lessons with Tona de Brett, who coached Annie Lennox, Sarah Brightman, Sade and others.
In Feb 1995 Canaan's single "Beautiful Life" was presented to radio and media at the MIDEM, Cannes/France.
Canaan's international release of "Beautiful Life" by Pulse-8 Records (UK) in spring 1995 gained critical acclaim from the UK and US music press, comparing her with Celine Dion, Cher and Tina Turner (Billboard, Music Week, Music Monitor etc.), radio promo tour in the UK, radio airplay in the UK, Europe, South Africa and Middle East.
Canaan performed "Beautiful Life" at the launch of MTV Europe in the Middle East, held in Beirut/Lebanon with the participation of Pato Banton, Urban Cookie Collective and Rozalla on Friday May 12, 1995.
Canaan is the first artist from the Middle East to have her video clip (filmed in London/UK) on MTV Europe, MTV Asia, MTV Russia and MTV Arabia.
Canaan's recordings, made in New York City at Jay Ward's Dogbrain Music, were exhibited on Billboard's TalentNet (US), topping the charts for months at Number 1 in 1998. US radio host Casey Kasem endorsed her songs.
Canaan launched her album through a campaign covering all Arab satellite networks (Orbit, Music Now, MBC, ART, LBCI, Future TV, Showtime's MTV Arabia, Murr TV, Dubai TV, Bahrain TV), local televisions, radio stations and all pan Arab printed press. Canaan performed in Beirut/Lebanon, Dubai/UAE and Manama/Bahrain in support of the album release.
Canaan was the first artist to participate in the chatrooms of Maktoob.com, Radio One (Lebanon) and was featured on many Internet portals (Khaleej.com, Arabiata.com, PlanetArabia.com, ArabToronto.com).
Canaan was received by His Excellency General Emile Lahoud, President of the Republic of Lebanon and his wife on Jan 16, 2002 at the Presidential Palace in Baabda/Lebanon.
Invited by the First Lady Mrs. Andree Lahoud, Canaan performed at the Presidential Palace in Baabda/Lebanon on Mother's Day, Mar 19, 2002 in honor of the wives of the Presidential Guard Officers.
"Libnan", written and performed by Lydia, is the title song of the advertisement Rediscover Lebanon, produced and broadcast by the US cable network CNN to over 1 billion viewers in 2004, commissioned by the Lebanese Government (Ministry of Economy & Trade) to promote Lebanon as tourist destination.
Humanitarian, Social and Animal Welfare Supporter
Canaan is a passionate and devoted supporter of humanitarian, social causes and animal welfare.
She supports the Asian Conservation Awareness Programme (ACAP/WildAid), London/UK, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Gland/Switzerland, Le Roselet Foundation, Saignelégier/Switzerland and BETA (Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), Beirut/Lebanon.
Canaan performed at charity and fundraiser events like American Women's Club, Beirut/Lebanon, Salmaniyah Hospital Children Care Unit, Manama/Bahrain, Rotary Club, Adliyah/Bahrain, American Community School, Beirut/Lebanon, Association Pour La Promotion Feminine, Beirut/Lebanon, CARITAS Liban, Beirut/Lebanon, Centre Renee Wehbe Le Vieillard Malade, Mansourieh/Lebanon and BETA (Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), Beirut/Lebanon, Lion's Beirut Code Club, Beirut/Lebanon, Unite Lebanon Youth Project (ULYP), Beirut/Lebanon, Arab Resource Center for Popular Arts (ARCPA, Al-Jana), Beirut/Lebanon, Social Support Society Active Ageing House, Refugee Camp Burj Al Barajneh, Beirut/Lebanon, NASMA Foundation, Beirut/Lebanon, Association Amour et Partage, Beirut/Lebanon.
Canaan was invited to the American Community School (ACS), Beirut/Lebanon, as the Speaker of the Month.,
Canaan performed in support of International Women's Day, Mar 2012, Beirut/Lebanon, under the Patronage of HE Minister Leila Solh Hamadeh, organized by the Women's Committee of the Lions Club District 351 Lebanon.
Beautiful Life was chosen as the theme song for a charity event in South Africa under the auspices of former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela.
Canaan performed at the United Nation's International Volunteers Day in Beirut/Lebanon on Dec 5, 2001 and was awarded for her humanitarian contributions by Yves de San, Head of UNDP/Lebanon.
Canaan performed at the "Summer University of Palestine" in Lebanon, July 2010, organized by Viva Palestina Arabia, founded by British MP George Galloway, founder of the Respect Party in the UK, a summer camp to educate and raise the level of awareness of the participants from all around the world on Palestine, the culture of the Arab region and Lebanon, by renowned speakers like Norman Finkelstein, Gabi Baramki, Ghada Karmi, George Galloway and many others.
Single, Album and Video Releases
- "The Sound Of Equation" (1985, Single, Radio Release)
- "Why All The Hurt" (1986, Single, Radio Release)
- "To Oblivion And Back" (1986, Single, Radio Release)
- "The Hope Song" (1987, Single, Various Artists, Radio Release)
- "Does It Need Some Action" (1987, Single, Radio Release)
- "A Hard Situation" (1987, Single, Radio Release)
- "Hey Richie" (1988, Single, Radio Release)
- "Hey Richie" (1988, Video)
- "The Christmas Wish" (1989, Single, Radio Release)
- "Me and Little Andy" (1989, Single, Radio Release)
- "Beautiful Life" (1995, Single, Pulse-8 Records)
- "Beautiful Life" (1995, Video)
- "The Sound Of Love" (1997, Single, Pulse-8 Records)
- "The Sound Of Love" (1997, Video)
- "The Sound Of Love" (2000, Album, SIDI/XEMA)
As of September 10, 2009, this article is derived in whole or in part from Lydia Canaan's official Myspace page. The copyright holder has licensed the content utilized under CC-By-SA and GFDL. All relevant terms must be followed. The original text was at "About Lydia Canaan".
- Edward D'Mello, Gulf News, Nov 29, 2000
- Terra Net Lebanon
- Press Release, Pulse-8 Records Ltd., Jan 1995
- Claire High, Arabian Woman, issue 21, p. 25-26, Sep 2000
- Sudha Chandran, Gulf Today/Panorama, p. 53, Nov 24-30, 2000
- Edward D'Mello, Gulf News, Nov 29, 2000
- Queen Vault
- Tommy Mandel
- MIDEM 95 Daily News, nr. 5, Feb 3, 1995
- David Sinclair, Billboard Magazine, May 10, 1997
- Nick Robinson, Music Week, May 13, 1995
- Paul Sexton, Music Monitor, Apr 21, 1995
- MTV Europe Press Release, Judith Daniel, Manager Marketing & Publicity, MTV Europe, Friday May 12, 1995
- Dogbrain Music
- Jinan Jubayli, The Daily Star, nr. 10735, Mar 18, 2002
- The Daily Star, nr. 10711, Feb 15, 2002
- Gulf Daily News, vol. XXIV nr. 217 (GGDN 024), Oct 23, 2001
- Mondanite, nr. 75, April 2003
- Mondanite, nr. 141, Nov 2008
- ACS Newsletter, Vol. III, nr. 5, February, 2001
- UNDP Lebanon