Live at the Modern Heritage Festival: Rima Khcheich

By Millie & Nisreen Hajaj

Who is Rima Khcheich?

Lebanese singer Rima Khcheich was born in the village of Khiam in southern Lebanon, in 1974. She began singing classical Arabic music at the age of nine and was awarded the bronze medal at the Bizert Festival for Mediterranean Song in Tunisia in 1985.


Having participated in various concerts in Lebanon and around the world, Rima has gained international repute and admiration for her gift in performing complex Arabic classical forms such as Dor 'Emta El Hawa', and Muwashah "Anta al Mudallal." Since 2001 she has collaborated with the esteemed Dutch jazz ensemble, the Yuri Honing Trio, and has recorded three albums -- "Orient Express", "Yalalalli" and her most recent release, "Falak" -- in which she seamlessly melds the established Arabic song repertoire into the western jazz idiom, creating an exciting new sub-genre.


In addition to her solo career, Rima teaches oriental singing at the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music and is invited on a yearly basis to the United States where she teaches voice and classical Arabic singing at the annual Arabic Music Retreat held at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, directed by renown musician and composer Simon Shaheen.

Source: Eventat


A Beautiful Tribute to Rima Khcheich from the Talented Nisreen Hajaj

It is never about fame, it's about the quality and level of art an artist presents. Haifa is famous but she is not a quality artist to even compare with great artists like Abir Nehme, Wehbe Jahida, Ghada Shbeir or Rima Khcheich. In fact, I was a student of Ghada and Rima for many years and I could tell you that they are very musically and academically educated and extremely talented unlike many of the famous artists out there that skyrocketed their way through profit based programs like Arab Idol. There is no comparison between an artist who is musically educated and one who is a fame chaser that has nothing to show for. The first is not worried about fame but about producing quality art where fame just becomes a by product. Real artists invest many years in educating themselves and many hours in rehearsing, training and grooming themselves to achieve success spending countless hours and investing every penny of their hard earnings to produce their art.

Over the past few years, I have had the pleasure and honour of working with many organizers who were extremely appreciative of my talent even with the minimal resources of funding they had. But I was very humbled to work with them and contribute my talent to the success of their events and couldn't have been happier. On the other hand, the one thing I cannot stand is for any artist including myself is to be disrespected and be treated like we are a cheap commodity/entertainment. That's not how it works. We work for a living just like any other respectful profession out there because we also go to school for it and pour our efforts into becoming successful. I cannot count the times where I've had to skip paying for my lunch so that I can afford to pay for transportation to go to my conservatory in Beirut to get my music education. You can never price tag art, you can only pay what you think it deserves as a gesture of appreciation. Thank you for the supportive people who have been standing by me and supporting me including completely believing in the quality performances I present to preserve our Arabic and specifically Palestinian Heritage.

I have nothing but respect and appreciation to those who have lent me a hand to climb the ladder of success. And I promise to continue performing for various humanitarian causes with class representing the highest moral values an artist should have. Thank you for supporting my calling.


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