Lydia Canaan

Lebanese singer-songwriter

Lydia Canaan is a Lebanese singer-songwriter, humanitarian activist, and diplomat. She is noted for her four-octave vocal range, songwriting, and unique vocal stylings, and is credited as the first Lebanese recording artist to achieve global success. Widely regarded as the first rock star of the Middle East, she is cataloged in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Library and Archives.


  • I was born in a world of borders, barricades, and demarcation lines. And since I could not change the world around me, I created a world inside me, and I held on to it. It was a world with no borders, barricades, or demarcation lines. It was a world of hope.
    • From Hostage to Injustice, a speech delivered at the 26th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, June 17, 2014
  • I have faith. I believe in this country. I believe in the spirit of these people. I am the daughter of this land. I’m a Canaanite.
  • The problems we face as a world feed off of ignorance and isolation. Art is the indelibly effective medium by which to combat it. Perhaps it is time that we focus less on the art of diplomacy and more on artistic diplomacy.
  • We have an aura about us which becomes stronger when you have faith in yourself. And when your aura is strong, evil dare not touch you.
    • As quoted in an interview with Sudha Chandran, Gulf Today/Panorama, November 24, 2000
  • Human evolution should be humane evolution.
    • From Humane Evolution, a speech delivered at the 28th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, March 13, 2015
  • Art is non-divisive, all inclusive, and universally accessible. It is the primal and sacred heart of the mind, the DNA-deep instinct to express the human soul and to appreciate and delight in the expressions of others. It is the innate Divine Creative Power with which humanity is endowed.
  • When you are deprived of something that you long for desperately, the mind finds ways of doing the same thing in different ways; it creates the potential which you never knew you had – the potential to create something out of nothing.
    • As quoted in an interview with Sudha Chandran, Gulf Today/Panorama, November 24, 2000
  • Art is a universal language, a mighty bridge that transcends religiosity. It is embraced and appreciated not by adherents, devotees, believers, or converts of any certain sort, but by members of the religion that is Love.

Quotes about Lydia Canaan

  • It is incredible that amidst the state of civil war that existed in Lebanon at that time, when most people had no idea if they would see another day, she managed to keep her ambitions alive.
    • Sudha Chandran, Gulf Today/Panorama, November 24, 2000
  • Canaan's voice, as shown in her repertoire of song, possesses a rare resonance and a devastating effect in its evocation of love and sensuality in the refined area of the poetic dimension.
  • As a girl who grew up in the midst of a bloody civil war, Canaan was breaking down seemingly insurmountable barriers: she rocked the establishment.
    • Claire High, Arabian Woman, No. 21, September 2000
  • Lydia, through the medium of her art, has whenever possible fought for the disadvantaged, the poor, the infirm, and those in our society who suffer great want and political persecution.
  • In a small country that was ripped by war, there was this young girl making a difference.
    • Hala Habib, Society, No. 3, February 1997
  • Recognized as the first rock star of the Middle East, she was born into a diverse Lebanon that has stood out as a jewel in a war zone. Lydia shares with many of us the vision of what is possible in our best aspirations, and how we can all be partners in this future.
  • For Lydia Canaan's first gig, she had to throw her trademark short rockish black leather skirt and studs out of her bedroom window in Brummana, put on a long skirt, lie to her conservative father about where she was going, and, after changing into her leather gear, singing her teenage heart out as Angel with the band Equation.

  Encyclopedic article on Lydia Canaan on Wikipedia