Beirut-born pop star Mika to play in Lebanon

More than 10,000 tickets have been sold so far and some 15,000 people are expected at pop sensation Mika's open-air concert in Beirut.


International pop singing sensation Mika is set to play to a sell-out crowd on Sunday when he stages his first concert in Beirut, the city of his birth.


"This is quite a proud moment for me," Mika, 25, told reporters on Saturday. "This concert has been a long time coming and finally it's taking place."


He has tried before to bring what he calls his "travelling circus" to Lebanon, but had to cancel because of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war and the political violence that has afflicted the country over the past two years.


"We have all tried a lot to make this happen and I am really looking forward to it," the London-based singer told a news conference.


More than 10,000 tickets have been sold so far and some 15,000 people are expected to throng Martyrs' Square in the heart of Beirut for the open-air concert.


"I don't think we are going to have any risk of having a bad crowd. I have seen two concerts in Beirut and they have been completely insane. I am really looking forward to this time being my turn," Mika said.


"You can expect to see a show that is quite celebratory. We're going to have fun," he added.

Mika's mother is Lebanese, his father is American and he speaks with a British accent. His family moved to Paris when he was very young and later to London, where he was raised.


"Anyone who is any part Lebanese will tell you the same thing -- that the Lebanese completely takes over," said Mika, who won the British Breakthrough Act award in the annual Brits music awards in London in February.


"I was always very proud of where I came from and who I am, and being Lebanese is a big part of that."

Mika's concert is a highlight of Lebanon's music festival season during a summer that has also seen the start of a revival for the country's tourism industry, badly hit over the past two years.


The organisers of the Beiteddine and Baalbek festivals are co-sponsoring the concert by Mika, who shot to fame in 2007 with his first album of Freddie Mercury-style 80s pop.


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