If there were ever an award for hardest working celebrities during Ramadan, then one would undoubtedly go to Myriam Fares for her efforts this year.
For nearly a decade the Lebanese singer makes a nightly appearance on a range of regional channels during the holy month, where she showcases her singing and acting talent.
Called Fawazir, these short segments are a Ramadan television staple and basically function as interludes between dramas. Running no more than 10 minutes, these short bursts of family entertainment tend to have a celebrity singing and dancing along – normally with kids – to a range of catchy Ramadan inspired tunes.
It all looks fun and joyful, but as Fares explains, it was one of the most gruelling experiences of her career.
“I basically shot each of the Fawazir non-stop for 48 days straight,” she says before her June 23 Mawazine Festival concert in Rabat, Morocco.
“There was no script or rehearsals really. I would just go to the studio and we kind of created the whole thing on the spot. At the end of it all, I remember that it took me some time to recover. I felt like someone returning to the real world after being trapped. It took me a while to get back to being myself.”
Despite the hardship, Fares’s intense workload confirms that she is in good health. This comes after Arabic social media erupted with concern recently when Fares admitted she suffered a health scare. While she didn’t go on to explain what it was, the Arabic press reported it was to do with her vocal chords.
Speaking to the press in Rabat, Fares would not confirm what her condition she was, only to say that the worst is over and she is back to focusing on her music.
To prove her point, she announced her next single will be a track built around Moroccan rhythms and will head to Berlin this week to shoot the accompanying video. Details of the song will be revealed on her social media channels soon.
With more music on the way, we can expect her to bring her live show to the UAE later in the year. And for those familiar with her work, Fares is one of the best live performers on the Arabic pop scene.
Where her peers often prefer to stand motionless at the centre-stage, a Fares live show is all energy that involves slick choreography and vocals.
However, those hoping she would fuse some of the great costumes and old-fashioned Broadway musical aesthetics that characterised her Fawazir segments to her upcoming shows would be disappointed.
But it is not down to a lack of effort. Fares says her grander vision for her live shows are often stymied by a lack of resources in the region.
“If I am honest with you, a lot of it is down to a lack of professionalism in the region. When it comes to production, there is still a lack of knowledge here that makes it harder for the artist to deliver a big show,” she says.
“Artists in the west can do that because there they have the experienced talent to pull it off. We in the Arab world have yet to reach that point, so it just becomes a lot of work for the artist to make it happen.”