Saudi Tenor Marwan Fagi Kicks Off Abu Dhabi Festival’s Ramadan Series in Dazzling Performance of Ateehu Fika (Lost in you)
As part of its exclusive commissions and productions, and in partnership with Lead Partner Mubadala Investment Company (“Mubadala”), the 18th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival (ADF), themed “The Future Starts Now”, launched on Tuesday with the first event of its Ramadan Series under the theme “Human Fraternity: Dignity and Hope”. The performance in collaboration with Hiba Al Kawas Academy, featured Wajd (Devotion) by singer Marwan Fagi, a Saudi tenor with a warm voice hailing from Mecca, and was streamed online via ADF’s digital platforms.
Dr. Hiba Al Kawas, composer, soprano, academic, produced and conducted the captivating show and mentored Fagi, weaving together the singer’s natural high tones and soothing low tones. Fagi was accompanied by members of the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra.
“I am thrilled to be a part of the partnership between ADMAF, Abu Dhabi Festival and Hiba Al Kawas Academy to guide a variety of artists, from opera singers to chanters and pop, to hone their skills and develop their inspiring techniques. Today, we witness the onset of a journey for Saudi talents taking their first steps in Abu Dhabi, and on to international stages,” said Dr. Hiba Al Kawas.
The performance saw high engagement and interaction from audiences through social media, where Fagi gave an outstanding performance of “Ateehu Fika” (Lost in you), a song he composed on a poem by Nada El Hage, with music arranged by Rami Basahih.
Members of the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra recorded the melody in the iconic National Museum of Lebanon, located in Beirut, while Fagi recorded his voice in Al-Tayebat International City of Science and Knowledge, a ‘must see’ Islamic heritage museum located in Jeddah.
“Being part of Abu Dhabi Festival is a great opportunity for me, given its cultural status on local, regional and global levels and its unique multicultural message of acceptance and openness, which positively serves the music industry in the Arab world. My current experience with ADF is unique and special because it is liberating from all traditional musical restrictions,” said Marwan Fagi.
Fagi thanked Dr. Al Kawas for her guidance and supervision of the performance and for conducting the orchestra to deliver an artistic vision in a graceful and sublime way. “At a time when the whole world is going through various challenges, we all need to come together and deliver a message of love and acceptance through our voices, and this is the objective of Abu Dhabi Festival,” added Fagi.
The Ramadan Series continues on 24 April with a performance by Saudi countertenor Mohammed Khayran Al-Zahrani, bringing Saudi cultural heritage together with Western opera in a performance entitled “Ethereal”.
The “Human Fraternity: Dignity and Hope” Ramadan Series includes digital performances of over 25 songs and chants by bright Arab vocalists and creators, written by 11 poets and writers and performed by 8 chanters and singers, accompanied by 60 musicians.
To enjoy Fagi’s performance and for more information about the “Human Fraternity: Dignity and Hope” Ramadan Series, follow us on social media or visit Abu Dhabi Festival’s Ramadan Series page:Ramadan Series – Abu Dhabi Festival
About Abu Dhabi Festival
Founded in 2004, Abu Dhabi Festival was initially a small arts and culture platform that soon graduated to one of the world’s premiere annual events. Held in the UAE, it celebrates artistic and creative excellence, and promotes the role of music and the arts in bringing nations closer. It also promotes Abu Dhabi as a leading global hub for creativity and as an Emirati beacon for respect and tolerance.
Strengthened by a growing network of 30 international partners, the festival brings audiences together each year to enjoy world premieres and exclusive commissions in the UAE and around the world.
Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation
Founded in 1996, ADMAF is one of the oldest, not-for-profit cultural organisations in the Arabian Gulf. Pioneering new artistic practices, it seeks to deepen global cross-cultural dialogue and inspire a renewed interest in the creativity of the UAE and Arab world. Often in partnership with leading national and international institutions, it delivers multidisciplinary initiatives for people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities through the Abu Dhabi Festival, year-round youth platforms and community programmes.
About Mubadala Investment Company
Mubadala Investment Company is a sovereign investor managing a global portfolio, aimed at generating sustainable financial returns for the Government of Abu Dhabi.
Mubadala’s $232 billion (AED 853 billion) portfolio spans six continents with interests in multiple sectors and asset classes. We leverage our deep sectoral expertise and long-standing partnerships to actively source deals. In the UAE, we are driving sustainable growth by optimizing scale and efficiency, supporting the continued diversification and global integration of the local economy while growing our shareholder value.
Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Mubadala has offices in London, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, New York, San Francisco and Beijing.
A gifted Saudi singer and composer, Marwan Fagi was born in Mecca, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Umm Al-Qura University.
After studying music and learning to play the oud under renowned composer Ghazi Ali, he competed in the first season of Arab Idol in 2012 and was invited to be a contestant on the fourth season of The Voice in 2018.
Fagi has performed at several concerts in Saudi Arabia, including Fairouziyat and Talaliyat in 2017. He also performed at the opening ceremony of the 2019 edition of the Saudi Crown Prince Camel Festival.
In 2012, Fagi was signed by Somou for Media Production, under the patronage of H.H. Prince Fahad bin Khalid Al Saud, and recorded three singles. He has been working in music production since 2017 and has recorded and released eight songs.
Fagi’s iconic song is Weytool Alkalam, an arrangement by Saudi composer Rami Basahih and the first Saudi symphonic piece to be performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra, with 82 musicians in Budapest.
Rami Basahih (music arranger)
A student of music theory, composition, conducting and orchestrating the musical traditions of a variety of world cultures, Rami Basahih is a graduate of Adams State University and Harmony University. He has composed and arranged many songs for well-known singers, and has worked for film, television, social media and radio programmes. He has worked with the Macedonian Symphonic Orchestra and the Lisbon Orchestra, and has arranged and orchestrated music for Marwan Fagi’s performances with the Moscow Orchestra, the Budapest Orchestra and others.