The Lebanese-British singer Mika was just awarded Lebanon’s National Order of Merit of the Silver Palm, for his ‘I Love Beirut’ concert.
The pop star is seen holding the medal next to his brother, Fortune, with the Lebanese flag in the background.
“I Love Beirutwas a concert in aid of Lebanon and a declaration of my love for this city and this country that I left at the age of one and a half,” Mika wrote on his social media pages. “I Love Lebanon is what I want to say after receiving today the Lebanese National Order of Merit – Silver Palm.”
With all humbleness, Mika shared his pride at accepting the award, bearing in mind all the sacrifices made by his family, as well as praising the strong will of the Lebanese people.
“Today I think of my Lebanese grandmother, my mother, my aunts, my family, who brought the Lebanese soul to my life at home, in Paris, in London, everywhere I lived,” he said on Twitter.
“Citizen of this uprooted world, Lebanon flows through my veins. This reciprocal love, so unexpected and so poignant, makes me happy and very proud of my heritage, especially in these difficult times for Lebanon. Thank you from me and all my family,” Mika added.
Held on September 19th, I Love Beirutwas an online concert by The British-Lebanese pop star produced after the devastating August 4th explosion and in support of Beirut victims.
All the way from Beirut, London, Rome, and Los Angeles, nearly a dozen singers including Kylie Minogue, Rufus Wainwright, and Lebanese artists such as poet Etel Adnan and indie group Mashrou’ Leila joined Mika in offering a tribute to a city picking itself up piece by piece.
Proceeds from the ticketed streams went to Red Cross Lebanon and Save the Children, organizations that remain involved in supporting Beirut’s recovery to this day.
Born in Beirut, Mika escaped the civil war with his family to Paris in 1982 at the age of one and a half, and his heart is always with Lebanon.
Even though he holds the British passport, the singer never forgot his roots.
During the Mawazine Festival in Morocco in 2013, Mika said that his dream project was to release an album of songs performed in English, Arabic and French.
He said the concept was inspired by growing up among the Lebanese diaspora in Paris. “I was surrounded by a people who spoke three languages in one sentence,” he said.
All throughout his 16-year career, with hits such as Grace Kelly and Relax, Take It Easy, Mika has addressed how his culture affects his work.
“I grew up listening to Arabic music in that context. I was listening to people like Fairuz and the purity of the likes of Umm Kulthum and all these other acts that I discovered. That made me realize how much of that clash of cultures has influenced my music,” Mika said.