BEIRUT: Matthieu Chedid, grandson of Lebanese author Andree Chedid, who goes by the stage name -M-, gave an outstanding performance Sunday night at Wadi Abu Jamil’s Music Hall.
For more than two hours, -M-, accompanied by his brother Joseph and his sister Anna, performed at his peak, giving an exceptional and unique show. “It is a particular concert we are doing here,” -M- told The Daily Star Saturday. “It is symbolic for me to come [to Lebanon] and I came with my brother and sister, so it will be a family concert that we will create.”
-M- and his siblings expressed their joy and excitement in coming to the country for the first time. “I feel this link with the Lebanese,” -M- said. “I come from here in a way and Lebanese may understand me more than others.”
“We wanted this concert to be different and unique,” Anna said.
“We are together,” Joseph said. “We are happy. The concert cannot be bad.”
It certainly wasn’t. The Chedids’ performance was an absolute treat for the eyes and the ears. From emotive moments to fiery ones, along with touching remarks from the lead singer, everything came together to make this experience memorable for the performers as well as for the audience.
“It was as if I was postponing the pleasure,” -M- said when asked why it took him so long to perform here.
The long wait was well worth it. The spectators plunged fearlessly into -M-’s world. Stunning guitar riffs, deep vocal solos from Anna and an outstanding percussion solo by Joseph showcased the considerable talents of the Chedid family.
Son of Louis Chedid, -M- has these skills in his veins, just like his brother and sister. They all play several instruments and they showed their diversity during the show. From guitar, to bass, to drums and vocal sessions, all three gave an intimate and strong performance.
Known for his eccentric stage decor, -M- didn’t feel the need to add flamboyant accessories to the set of Sunday’s gig. It was as though -M-, Joseph and Anna were presenting their true selves to the Lebanese, emphasizing the fact that Lebanon deserved to have a unique -M- concert, one never seen before.
He sang some tunes from his latest album, released earlier this year, such as “Mojo,” as well as some of his most famous songs. “Qui de Nous Deux,” “Je dis -M-,” “Onde Sensuelle,” along with “Mama Sam,” “La Bonne Etoile” and “Cornflakes” immersed the audience in -M-’s eccentric and phantasmagoric mood. It was as though his persona came to embody every single person in the venue.
Dressed in a glittery black-and-red suit jacket, with white LED glasses from which sprouted an enormous M, the singer proved to be a formidable entertainer. He broke the barrier that sometimes exists between audience and performer, talking to the spectators and inviting two children on stage with him. At one point, he even left the stage to join the amused audience, playing electric guitar with his teeth. -M- ensured he got very close to his public, which was quite touching. It emphasized the fact that coming to Lebanon meant a lot for him and his siblings.
At several points during the concert, he honored his grandmother Andree Chedid, performing the song “Je dis -M-,” which she co-wrote with him. Great respect could be felt in the venue. His mother even had her share of celebration when the three performers sang “Baia,” a song written especially for her.
The audience jumped, raised their hands and sang in unison – showing that, somewhat surprisingly, they were familiar with every single lyric of each song.
At the end of the performance, -M-, Anna and Joseph all put on LED glasses and danced for the audience, in order to share their happiness. Jiggling on stage, the three performers presented the best of their art and a peek into their family dynamic, which appears to be a close one.
“I am never scared of disappointing people,” -M- said before the show. “I am always convinced that everything will go well.”
He was right. Sunday’s show was unique and it went perfectly. So well, that after the show, -M- and his siblings came back on stage to do an encore that lasted 20 extraordinary minutes more.