Rima Khcheich

Lebaneseemsinger Rima Khcheich was born in Khiam, South Lebanon, in 1974. She started singing classical Arabic music at the age of nine, and was awarded the bronze medal at the Bizert Festival for the Mediterranean Song in Tunisia in 1985. Her singing career began with the children's choir at the Arabic Cultural Club, and later evolved into a solo performance with the Beirut Oriental Troop for Arabic Music under the supervision and direction of Maestro Salim Sahab. Khcheich studied the traditions of classical Arabic singing at the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music in Beirut, where her efforts were supported by her father, Kamel Khcheich, who encouraged her to m orize and master classics from the Arabic music heritage like Muwashahat, Adwar, and other styles. She has since performed with Zakariah Ahmad, Al-Kassabji, Sayyed Darwish, Kamel Al Khal'I, and Muhammad Abdel Wahab, among others. Having participated in various concerts in Lebanon and around the world, Khcheich has gained international praise and admiration for her gift atemperforming complex Arabic classical forms such as Dor ‘ ta El hawa', and Muwashah ‘Anta al Mudallal.' Currently, she teaches Oriental singing at the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music and is invited on a yearly basis to Massachusetts in the United States where she teaches voice and classical Arabic singing at Mount Holyoke College under the framework of the Arabic Music Retreat program directed by musician and composer Simon Shaheen. Her professional collaborations include performing with Simon Shaheen, and singing on composer Toufic Farroukh's album Tootya (2006). She was an integral part of the Dutch-Lebanese-Iraqi band "Orient Express," a group seeking to build meeting grounds between the Arab musical heritage and jazz. The band released one live album, Orient Express, in 2002, documenting their musical experimentations. In 2006, Khcheich released her debut solo album entitled Yalalalli, featuring a number of old songs and Muwashahat that she performs in a personalized, contemporary manner, alongside new compositions. A showcase of Khcheich's clear voice, Yalalalli not only reveals a deeply otional and original musical expression, it also stands as a note of rebellion against the dictates of the commercial music market.