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Press review: webloggers and newspapers unanimously happy with Amal Maher

 Those who missed it, like our Beatrix, will increasingly realise that something important happened, Tuesday, 1 June, at the opening of the Holland Festival. Egyptian beauty Amal Maher performed an hour and a half of classical Arabic music at Carré, making her first small step into the Western mainstream.

We ourselves at The Dodo were already enthusiastic, albeit with reservations, as were a number of other commenters. At Twitter there were already enthusiastic comments immediately after the performance, although there were a few who didn't like it, but we couldn't track them down among all the positive tweets.

De Volkskrant sent reviewer Ton Maas to Carré, who thought Maher was wonderful:

Maher (25) possesses a formidable voice, in no small part reminiscent of Kalthoum. Minor glitches in the hall's amplification even gave the impression that the technology was barely up to the sound pressure of her vocal cords - a probably unintentional reference to the legend that Kalthoum had to keep several metres away from the microphone in the studio because of her powerful voice.

At NRC Handelsblad reviewer René van Peer was equally enthusiastic about Maher's vocal performance and physical appearance:

From her rise, she floated on warm waves of sympathy that the audience, clearly from diverse cultures, accorded her. A long-held tone, a complex of embellishments, a phrase completed with emphasis - all were prompts to reward Maher with applause. She sang with abandon, with admirable empathy.

Her voice ranged from a deep and soft timbre to a sharpness with which you could slice old cheese into wafer-thin slices. Maher possessed the rare ability to turn inward while bridging to her audience from those inner resources.

Also in Wed reviewer Saskia Bosch was laudatory, although she noted, like the website quoted here earlier, that Maher's voice was not as full as that of the great example Oum Kalthoum:

On the other hand, she sang with tremendous pasie and completely immersed herself in the lyrics so that the audience was effortlessly sucked into the music.

Weblogger Kasper van Noppen Was totally happy with the concert:

Everyone went wild, and the roof of Carré went off. The stately and beautiful Amal Maher, with a voice the Red Sea can give way to, performed the songs all Arabs know, which are part of their lives and memories. 'We all know it from the old days, cracking cassette tapes in the car as we drove to Morocco.' Maher revealed that Oum Kalsoum is literally a living legend.

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