An Arab music festival tour celebrating the diversity of Arab music has been canceled out of the concern for the musicians' safety.
The Desert Rose and Arabian Rhythms tour was to feature artists such as Algerian rai singer Khaled, Egyptian street-pop artist Hakim and Iranian born singer Andy. Many of the artists in the tour are featured on an album of the same name released on March 20 by American record label Mondo Melodia.
Andy, whose full name is Andy Madadian, has been living in Los Angeles since 1979. He is currently working with Miles Copeland, the producer behind Sting, the Police and the Go-Go's.
The name Desert Rose and Arabian Rhythms, which is a thirteen-song collection of rai and rai-inspired music, was taken from Sting's hit "Desert Rose," which features rai singer Cheb Mami.
The tour, which was to stop in 10 U.S. cities, was set to kick off in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14, followed by a show in New York two days later.
The festival was cancelled on Sept. 11 immediately following the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. At the time, Khaled and Hakim were waiting for flights to take them to New York.
A spokesperson for the tour said that the artists involved were concerned for their safety in light of reports of Arabs being attacked in the United States.
"This festival was really for young people, but the idea of Arab musicians and fans partying and celebrating to Arab music might have given some people the wrong message," the spokesperson added.
The label plans to reschedule the tour for late January or early February.
In a surprise visit to Washington, D.C., Jordan's Queen Noor awarded Sting the Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Award given by the Arab American Institute Foundation. Sting was praised by the Jordanian queen for his work on preserving the rain forest and praised by Secretary of State Colin Powell for his work on human rights issues. Sting's hit song "Desert Rose," which featured the voice and lyrics Algerian singer Cheb Mami, brought Arabic music to the world's forefront.
British rock star singer Sting will receive an award for promoting cross-cultural understanding on May 5 in Washington, D.C. The group will present Sting with one of its 2001 Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity awards to honor "commitment to indigenous people and the environment, as well as his efforts to promote cross-cultural understanding," The Arab American Institute spokeswoman Jenny Salan said. Sting brought the sound of Arabic music in his Brand New Day album with the song "Desert Rose." Sting and Cheb Mami performed the song at the 1999 Grammy Awards, further exposing American audiences to Arabic culture.