WORLD Lebanon hosts concert for blast victims at ravaged palace


Lebanon hosts concert for blast victims at ravaged palace


16:46, September 21, 2020

Candles light up pictures of victims of August's deadly Beirut blast during a commemoration concert in Achrafieh in Lebanon's capital on Sunday. Photo: AFP

Lebanon on Sunday held a concert for the victims of August's deadly Beirut blast in the grounds of a 19th-century palace wrecked by the massive explosion.

The August 4 blast at the capital's port killed more than 190 people, wounded thousands and destroyed buildings across swathes of the city.

"To be able to mourn, to take the time to really remember, it was important to have this moment of music," artistic director Jean-Louis Mainguy said.

The event was held in the gardens of the Sursock Palace, whose windows, red-tiled roof, ceilings and furniture were ravaged in the blast.

The concert, which did not have an audience on site, but was broadcast on television and streamed online, kicked off with a rendition of "Li Beirut," an ode to the city by famed Lebanese singer Fairouz.

Portraits of those killed in the blast were displayed in part of the heritage building's grounds.

The victims' images and names were also broadcast on television, accompanied by the Muslim call to prayer and Christian chants of "Amen" performed by an orchestra and some 250 choir singers from around the country.

The concert included live performances as well as pre-recorded contributions, including from Lebanese singer-songwriter Tania Saleh.

The event was initially to be held at the port, but was moved after the air quality around the site was deemed too poor after fires there earlier in September.

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