Born in Alexandria to Greek and Lebanese parents, and now living in Canada, it is hardly surprising Chantal Chamandy loves embracing cultures. So much so she personally requested to perform in the country of her birth last year, and convinced the Egyptian authorities to allow her to film her new DVD Beladi (My Country): A Night at the Pyramids in the shadow of the country’s most famous landmark.
“It was a fantastic honour for me to be the first artist to have filmed her concert at the pyramids,” Chamandy tells Emirates Business. “I managed to obtain special permission, and it was magical. There’s just something about Egypt.”
Featuring the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, the contemporary artist – who sings in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian – performed before an audience of several thousand, making her one of only a handful of artists – including Shakira, Sting, Julio Iglesias and Fairouz – to have special access to one of the greatest wonders of the world. “To be at the pyramids and to see the Sphinx is just something else, and the whole concert was wonderful,” she says.
The show was directed by award-winning French director Gérard Pullicino, who has produced and directed concerts for Celine Dion and Madonna, while Chamandy and Geneviève Dorion-Coupal choreographed.
Along with the 90-minute concert, the DVD features more than an hour of extra features, including an interview with the singer/songwriter herself, who explains her intentions with the performance as emphasising a sense of togetherness and optimism through music.
“My aim is to bridge cultures through my music, so it was truly special,” she says.
And it hasn’t stopped there; Chamandy – who is in Dubai this week to promote the DVD – flew straight from Beirut, Lebanon, where she appeared on American Idol-style Middle Eastern show, Star Academy 5. “I absolutely love the concept,” she says. “These students are very talented, and I got to meet [Lebanese singer] Fares Karam, which was nice.”
Following her stay in the UAE, Chamandy will begin rehearsals for an upcoming June tour. “I just haven’t stopped, but I love it,” she smiles. “I’m currently writing my next album, and I’m also preparing for my tour.”
However, Chamandy’s fans shouldn’t be disappointed, as it looks like it won’t be long before she returns to the region. “I’d love to perform in Dubai – I love this place – so I’d love to return soon.”
And does she plan on duetting with any Arabic stars in the future? “Definitely,” she says. “I am a big fan of Arabic music, and I listen to a lot of singers, including Nancy Ajram, Amr Diab, Fairouz, and Ragheb Alama, as well as a lot of new Egyptian singers. So watch this space.”
Beladi: A Night at the Pyramids. Out now in stores. For more information, visit www.chantalchamandy.com