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12/06/2014 - 07:00hs

'Arab Idol' visits Chamber of Commerce

Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf came to Brazil to sing at Fifa Congress. He won the Middle Eastern version of reality show “American Idol” last year.

São Paulo – Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf visited the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce’s head-quarter, in São Paulo, this Wednesday (11th), where he met with the organization’s CEO, Michel Alaby, and journalists. Assaf came to Brazil this week to perform at the 64th International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) Congress, held in São Paulo this Tuesday and Wednesday. He sang the song “Assaf 360”, whose theme is the World Cup.

Press release/FIFA

Assaf at Fifa Congress: viewers from all over the world

Assaf was born in the Gaza Strip and became famous worldwide after he won, last July, the talent show “Arab Idol”, an Arab version of “American Idol”. Since then he has performed in Denmark, Sweden, Canada, United States and Chile. His performance at FIFA Congress, for 2,000 people, was his first time in a Brazilian stage.

“As an Arab singer known in the Arab countries, it was very important to sing at Fifa’s event. Over a billion people saw me and it is now part of my resume. My dream is to be an international singer,” he claimed. Assaf said he admires Latin American artists, such as Brazilian Sergio Mendes and Colombian Shakira.

Humanitarian music

The singer is the regional youth ambassador of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (Unrwa). Each time the song “Assaf360” is downloaded, part of the money raised will be used in the campaign “Give for food”. The Unrwa helps five million Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

To be part of the Unrwa, said the singer, is one way to help Palestinian people. The other is thorough my songs. “The art of singing is universal, regardless of language, rhythm, dialect, and through music we can transmit a message. It is capable of conveying a message even more than a political speech,” said the 24-year-old singer, who started singing at the age of five. “When I watched cartoons on the television, I was not interested in the story, I was interested in the songs,” he said.

Besides being a singer, Assaf also plays football. He was even registered as a player in the Palestinian Football Association. He said he likes the Brazilian team, but in this World Cup he is supporting the only Arab team in the competition, Algeria. Assaf will watch the World Cup’s opening game between Brazil and Croatia, this Thursday (12th), before leaving Brazil.

*Translated by Rodrigo Mendonça

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