Career

Oumeima

Oumeima
1970
May 5

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A gem in her own right, Oumeima el Khalil has spent the better part of the last 3 decades building a colorful career for herself. Between her collaborative and solo projects, her multidimensional identity invokes a humanist quality to her presence and art, which immediately catches the attention of all who know her, and love her.
June 7

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Starting her career at the ripe age of 4, Oumeima spent more time singing and composing than socializing. Initiating her stage presence at that time through end-of-year performances at the cultural center in her hometown of the West Bekaa. According to Oumeima, her biggest supporters and mentors were her father and Father Hanna, the community’s priest. Sending her to the Lebanese Conservatory for Music in the midst of the civil war, Oumeima honed in on her raw talent and acquired skills through practicing by performing pieces by the greats Asmahan, and Fairouz.
1971
July 18

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After making her TV debut in a documentary special on France’s Canal 9, and on Sharif el Akhawi’s radio show, Nozha Promenade, in which a 5-year-old Oumeima was placed center stage. As such, the large audience bases attracted a lot of attention and ultimately put the spotlight on Oumeima; becoming one of the many stepping-stones of her career.
1972
August 16

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By the time she was 7 years old, Oumeima met a young up & coming talent, Marcel Khalife. Still finding his own sound and niche in the industry in the early ‘70s, Marcel was interested in mentoring and after a trip to the West Bekaa in the late ‘70s where Oumeima auditioned for him; he invited the young starlet to his home studio in Beirut where the Mayadeen Group was born.
1979
February 21

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In 1979, in the thick of the Lebanese Civil War, Oumeima began traveling out of the West Bekaa in to Beirut to regroup with Khalife and the Group, recording and performing under the guidance and direction of Khalife. Renowned singles such as “Asfour”, “Nameh ya Zgheere”, “Amar il Mraye”, “Ya M’alimti” (“il Wlad Wil Deeb”), which the little songstress had memorized and recorded at Khalife’s home studio in Beirut in under a week. This also marked the beginning of the annual recordings such as “Khodarjiyeh”, “Police is-Sharah”, and “Shaware’ Beirut”.
1980
January 17

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Performing her first live concert on the UNESCO stage at 14 years old, where she performed “Ya Ard Illi Trabik”, “’Alleeha”, “Shaware’ Beirut”, and “Asfour”. This ultimately propelled Oumeima to the international scene, and reigned in the first of many tours overseas.
1982
January 25

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By 16, with her father’s blessings, Oumeima was already on her first American tour which took her and Marcel to over 16 states, as well as Panama, Columbia and Venezuela, to play non-profit concerts to raise money for the Najdi Hospital in Nabatiyeh. This would later define both Oumeima and Marcel’s humanist approach to performing arts. As Oumeima would put it, “a voice with a purpose”.
March 26

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By 1982, Oumeima set off on her first European tour that took her to France, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Germany, Spain and Greece over the course of 4 months. This would be the first of 4 such tours.
1983
August 19

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In 1983, Oumeima kicked off her first tour of the UAE. However, for Oumeima life on the road meant time away from the family and hometown she still cherishes. For her, a career in the arts was not about the money but rather the cause and positive impact art has on society.
1984
January 30

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At the ripe age of 18, Oumeima enrolled at university to major in Psychology, and continued travelling, touring and recording which ultimately took precedence over her studies. For Oumeima, the stage felt like home and offered her a platform to experiment musically. She got her first shot at recording with an orchestra under Ahmad Al Arabi, with Ziad Rahbani at the helm of the mixing board as producer.
1993
January 1

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In 1990, Oumeima met pianist Hani Siblini. A fan of western music such as jazz, hip-hop and rock, Hani quickly became a beacon of “fresh” and endless possibilities to Oumeima in more ways than one. The new challenges and opportunities to experiment and express her own ideas musically, emotionally, and mentally ultimately dictated how their story would turn out. They wed in1994.
1994
January 26

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At the pinnacle of her career, Oumeima performed at historic venues worldwide such as the Opera House in Sydney, the Barbican Center and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Place d’Ezar in Montreal, Mutalite in Paris and the Opera House in Cairo. Additionally, international art and music festivals such as the annual events in Carthage and Hammamat in Tunisia, Beiteddine and Byblos in Lebanon, as well as Jerash in Jordan, almost became a playground for Oumeima to meet and interact with other awe-inspiring artists from around the world.