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.