Dazzling Lebanese violin virtuoso and show-woman Hanine El Alam chats with us about recently winning Best Lebanese Violinist at the Arab Satellite Festival in Cairo, travels and her love of nature.
Hanine El Alam is a fiercely talented and diverse violinist from Lebanon. Her "performances" are hardly just that; they are dazzling, larger than life spectacles, featuring adorned dancers, magnetic collaborations and a full band blending techno, Latin and Arabic flavors – not to mention the razzle-dazzle wardrobes. Her music videos are equally as dramatic and extravagant.
She has taken her music around the world, embracing audiences in her virtuosic and eclectic sound. Her accomplishments are abundant; most recently, Hanine was awarded Best Lebanese Violinist at the Arab Satellite Festival in Cairo.
Hanine began playing the violin at age 9, and later received a diploma in music. In addition to this, she is an eye-catching dancer. Hanine draws a lot of inspiration from nature, and holds deep respect for classic Arabic musicians, as well as drawing energy from the world’s many traditions.
Hanine was lovely enough to answer some questions for us. We talked about her accomplishments, musical inspirations and relaxing.
…it was amazing being honored in Egypt, the country we as Lebanese consider number one when it comes to art.
Congratulations on winning the award for Best Lebanese Violinist at the Arab Satellite Festival! How did that feel?
Thank you, it was amazing being honored in Egypt, the country we as Lebanese consider number one when it comes to art.
We see you were just in Tunisia. Where are you right now?
Yes, we were in Tunisia for two great performances at the Regency Hotel and now we have three consecutive shows in Jordan.
What is your favorite collaboration you have worked on?
A lot of my collaborations were very interesting, I enjoyed lots of them. If I have to count them all you’ll have to spare me three full pages hehe.
In 2014 you released Nostalgia, which was composed by you. Are you currently working on any new music?
Currently, I am working on a new track that has the Gypsy soul, I hope people love it.
I believe that knowledge is the key to anything. I am always curious, always on the hunt for new things to learn. And I also believe that it is crucial for any human being to meditate, relax and appreciate the nature around them.
Where is your favorite place to perform?
To each place its own vibes, but as any other artist, my favorite place to perform is anywhere with a positive audience.
Are you coming to Egypt again any time soon?
Yes, most probably to Alexandria at the end of November.
What artists in the past or present influence you most?
My influences come from different places. My music is a mixture between American singers and Arab musicians. I must say some of the most influential to me are Abboud Abed El Aal and the violinist Nazir Mawwas.
You perform with dancers, and are obviously talented yourself. Did you study dance as well as violin or are you a natural?
Dancing cannot be taught if you don’t have it in you. Feeling, living and being part of the music while dancing to the rhythm with precision is not something you can teach. I started as a natural of course then I studied it later on to get deeper into that form of art that dazzles me.
What are a few of your favorite songs right now?
I am a musician, I am always listening to new tracks, old tracks, tracks that I love and tracks that I only learn from. It’s hard choosing a favorite, but I can say that some of Oum Koulthoum’s are a must listen to everyday.
When you aren’t performing or making music, what do you like to do? How do you relax?
I’m into Yoga, meditation, nature and reading. I believe that knowledge is the key to anything. I am always curious, always on the hunt for new things to learn. And I also believe that it is crucial for any human being to meditate, relax and appreciate the nature around them.
Dancing cannot be taught if you don’t have it in you. Feeling, living and being part of the music while dancing to the rhythm with precision is not something you can teach.