Marcel Khalife

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Marcel Khalife
مارسيل على العود-2.jpg
Background information
Birth nameMarcel Khalife
Born (1950-06-10) 10 June 1950 (age 71)
Amsheet, Mount Lebanon Governorate, Lebanon
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, oud player
Years active1972–present

Marcel Khalifé (Arabic: مرسيل خليفة‎; born 10 June 1950, Amchit) is a Lebanese musical composer, singer, and oud player. He is known for his commitment to the Palestinian cause, the Communist party and is known for his patriotic songs.


Khalife performing at May Day celebration in Beirut

In 1983, Paredon Records, now Smithsonian Folkways, released Promises of the Storm, a small collection of protest songs and political ballads.[1]


In July 2009, Khalife returned to Tunisia to perform on the stage of the Roman amphitheatre to a full house, as part of the 45th International Festival of Carthage. Speaking to the audience, Khalife opened the concert by stating:[2]

People of Tunisia, good evening. This night, like all nights in Tunisia, has a special taste. In spite of all the collapses and defeats around the world, Tunisians are still the kind of people who have a special taste and love. They do not broadcast my songs and concerts on TV, but I know that my public keeps on listening to me.

Khalife later dedicated a song to the "revolutionary leader Che Guevara".[2]

Ana Yousef, ya Abi case[edit]

Three times (1996, 1999 and 2003), he faced criminal prosecution for his song I am Joseph, O Father, written by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.[3]


Khalifé studied the oud at the Beirut National Conservatory of Music and graduated in 1971.[4] [5] [6]

Professional life[edit]

After graduating from the Beirut National Conservatory of Music in 1971, Khalife taught the art of oud playing there until 1975.[7] Between 1972 and 1975, he taught music at public universities and several private music institutions in Lebanon while at the same touring the MENA region, Europe, and the United States to perform.[8]

He formed in 1972 a musical group in Amchit to revive his cillage's musical heritage, and it performed for the first time in Lebanon. He formed in 1976 Al Mayadine Ensemble, which toured Arabic-speaking countries, Europe, the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, and Japan.[9] [10]

Personal life[edit]

His eldest son, Juilliard School graduate Rami Khalife, is a pianist and composer.[11][12] In October 2011, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, under the conductorship of James Gaffigan, premiered Khalife's 'Chaos', for orchestra and piano, with Khalife at the helm as a soloist. In February 2013, Rami Khalife's Arab Spring-inspired 'Requiem' was premiered, within the same program as Marcel Khalife's suite "Oriental".[13]



In 1982, he wrote a six-part Anthology of Studying the Oud.[citation needed]



Marcel Khalife has composed soundtracks for films, documentaries and fictions, produced by Maroun Baghdadi, Oussama Mohammed, Sophi Sayhf Eddin and Samir Zikra. His music is also featured in the documentary Occupied Minds produced by Jamal Dajani and David Michaelis.[citation needed] His music featured in the documentary film Sons of Eilaboun by Hisham Zreiq.[21]


Marcel Khalife gave a talk on 12 March 2013, at the American University of Sharjah about his latest CD, The Fall of the Moon, and his longing towards the late Mahmoud Darwish. He also spoke about prospects of publishing his autobiography in two volumes.[22]


Below the discography of Marcel Khalife.[23]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Storm Promises (1976)
  • At the Border (1980)
  • Ahmad Al Arabi (1984)
  • Dreamy Sunrise (1985)
  • Ode to a Homeland (1990)
  • Arabic Coffeepot (1995)
  • Voyageur (1998)
  • Jadal (2002)
  • The Bridge (2002)
  • Summer Night's Dream (2003)
  • Promises of the Storm (2003)
  • Caress (2004)
  • Peace Be with You (2006)
  • Taqasim (2006)
  • Sharq (2007)
  • Andulusia of Love (2016)


  • Mounadiloun (Strugglers)
  • Oummi (Mother)

Live albums[edit]

  • Dance (1995)
  • Marcel Khalife: Magic Carpet (1998)
  • Concerto Al Andalus (2002)


  1. ^ Khalife at Smithsonian Folkways
  2. ^ a b Committed Marcel Khalifa Re-visits Fans in Tunisia[dead link] by Iman Zayat, Alarab Online, 29 July 2009
  3. ^ I am Yusuf, oh my father Archived 27 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Marcel Khalife Discusses the New and the Old in Arabic Music in a Leading Literary Supplement The Rationalization of Arabic Music | Al Jadid". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Marcel Khalife | Kennedy Center". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  6. ^ "Marcel Khalife – About". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Marcel Khalife | Kennedy Center". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  8. ^ Molocha, Danai. "Marcel Khalife: The Rebellious Master Of The Lebanese Oud". Culture Trip. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Marcel Khalife – About". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Marcel Khalife and the El-Mayadine Ensemble, a Concert for Peace and Humanity". UNRWA. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Art Alert: Rami Khalifé to perform with the Egyptian Sinfonietta in Cairo - Music - Arts & Culture". Ahram Online. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  12. ^ Allan, Angela (2 October 2013). "8 Things You Might Not Know About Marcel Khalife". Soot Magazine. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  13. ^ [1] Archived 26 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Chambers, David (14 November 2004). "Washintunes: Marcel Khalife: Caress". Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  15. ^ Chambers, David (12 January 2004). "Washintunes: Marcel Khalife". Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ "A Most Memorable Concert with Marcel Khalife – Al-Bustan Music Program". Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  18. ^ "Marcel Khalife in 'Chants of the East' – Al-Bustan Music Program". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Ali, Mina Sidi; Aley a, Mabrouk ( Neffati )Hosni Ibn; Riad, Nyata; Besson, Martin (1 May 2018). la paix au son du oud (in French). Geneva: Go Out! Magazine. p. 55.
  21. ^ The Sons of Eilaboun – official website[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ American University of Sharjah (14 March 2013). "Marcel Khalife Inspires Attendees at an AUS Talk". Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  23. ^ "Marcel Khalife discography". AllMusic.



External links[edit]