Monday, July 04, 2005

Khaled plays at Central Park

The free concert series at Central Park's Summerstage is one of the most interesting summer events in Manhattan. Just imagine how relaxing it is to be enjoying the lushness of the park while listening to fabulous music by some of the world's most famous musicians.

I went to the park yesterday with a group of friends to hear Khaled sing. Khaled, for those of you who may not have heard of him, is an Algerian Rai star who made a big name for himself in Paris and then worldwide with his Arabic/French music with highly controversial lyrics. It was the now famous song "Didi" that really rocketed Khaled to international stardom. His other famous song is "Aicha" which I'm sure you may have heard. It's H's favourite song in the world but I was really sad that he could not come to the concert as he was stuck at work - agh!

We waited in line for about thirty minutes before getting in but it was totally worth it. The warm-up singers were belting out Latin jazz tunes which set the mood for the afternoon. The crowd waited impatiently for Khaled to take center stage and when he finally came on stage, everyone went crazy. I loved his deep voice, exuberant energy and exotic music. I recognized many of the songs from his first few albums but also enjoyed the tunes from his latest album which was just released a few weeks back. Khaled didn't play his hit songs till much later into the performance but it was a lovely payoff for those of us who lingered on. Right at the end, his teenage daughter came on stage, and they jointly sang "Imagine." He seems very proud of his duaghter's talents - it was nice to see Khaled give her so much importance and exposure.

What I loved most about being at the park was people-watching. Manhattan is truly a melting pot more than any other city in America. There was such a amazing diversity of pepople - Indians, Arabs, Jews, Chinese, French, Americans mingling freely, drinking, eating, laughing, dancing - thoroughly enjoying the moment. Maybe it was Khaled, maybe it was the spirit that binds Manhattan. It was certainly wonderfully intoxicating.


Blogger gs said...

i heard of khaled many years was blasphemy for the orthodox muslims for him to sing pop songs and there was a 'fatwa',if i remember against him.he seems to have made peace with them.i have heard some of his hits and i liked them.he is energetic,exuberant and charismatic.i am sure that must have been a very enjoybale evening.
mumbai has lot of similarities with newyork/manhattan.mumbai is also a melting pot of many cultures and is a very vibrant city.after wanting to emulate shangai we now want to become says vilasrao deshmukh who is currently visiting usa.lulu,then,if and when you are back in mumbai for good you will not miss manhattan

12:46 PM  
Blogger Lulu said...

well, mumbai and manhattan may have lots of similarities but the grass will always be greener on the other side. when in mumbai, i'll be longing for central park, the freshness of spring, the blues bars, the amazing diversity in cuisine, the shopping, the whacky people, to name just a few. in manhattan, i long for pani puri from kailash parbhat, bombay gymkhana, marve beach, nariyalwalas, the oval, kulfi from chowpatty, the monsoons to name just a few. i don't think i can be happy in one place or the other. that is the fundamental crisis of souls such as myself.

9:23 PM  
Blogger rums said...

lools, in that case, just concentrate on making enough money so that you can spend 6 months in ny and the other six (the winter months) in b'bay. that would be ideal!

8:14 AM  
Blogger rums said...

oh and khaled's 'didi' was played at every party when i was a teen and we used to go wild on that number! so thanks for bringing back wonderful memories!!

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khaled brings memories of my first year at university in South Africa. Didi was played at every party!

12:11 PM  
Blogger Lulu said...

wow! i didn't realize that khaled was so popular the world over. you guys should look for his recent album.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Rage said...

You've got to get out to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, if you haven't already - much more family, much less yuppie. Much more POC, much less yuppie.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Manish said...

Ouch. I can't believe I missed Cheb Special K. I'm physically feeling pain right now. Bilal played Prospect Park before.

At least there's still M.I.A., Suphala, Ozomatli and Eddie Palmieri between these two parks...

7:14 AM  
Blogger Lulu said...

my cousin, annaka, lives in brooklyn and i've been meaning to hang out with her in brooklyn. i'll check out prospect park for sure. i thought that's where all the yuppies are moving!

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Khaled played in San Francisco's "Stern Grove" free fest recently as well, and Santana joined him, so it was an amazing concert!

5:16 PM  

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