Enrico Macias: France's megastar comes to the UK
Enrico Macias: "I created songs to cope with being in exile"
It is not just the Rolling Stones who are celebrating 50 years of musical success this year. French singer Enrico Macias may not be a household name in this country, but he has been a star in France since 1962.
Now his British-based fans will be able to see him in concert, playing songs stretching right back through his career.
Macias was brought up in Algeria where he learned to play classical Algerian, Arabic and Andalusian music. However, his family were forced to flee during the war of independence there. Exiled in Paris, he started to write new songs.
He recalls: “I created songs in order to cope with my frustration at being in exile. Success eventually arrived after two years, but during these two years it was very difficult.”
After playing in cafes and bars, Macias was signed up by a record company and became an overnight sensation following his first TV appearance. He puts down his success to his originality.
“My music is somewhere between Middle Eastern and western music. I might not have been the best but I was unique.”
He draws his fans from all over Europe and countries in the Middle East. After the peace deal was signed between Israel and Egypt he was invited by President Sadat to play a concert at the pyramids for 20,000 people.
Macias sees his music as a unifying force.
“I am very popular with Arabs as well as with Jews. Outside they kill each other but inside they sing my songs and make peace with each other.”
Enrico Macias plays at the Hilton London Metropole on Saturday December 8 in aid of the Meir Panim charity. To book, call on 020 8201 7441 or visit www.meirpanimuk.org