The Roundup: Regional pop-culture highlights

Two of Lebanon’s hottest young pop stars team up to great effect on this earworm sung mostly in French, with some English. (Supplied)
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Updated 06 February 2020

The Roundup: Regional pop-culture highlights

  • From Lea Makhoul to Luiza Formenius, here are some regional pop-culture highlights

‘À Nous’

Lea Makhoul ft. Anthony Touma

Two of Lebanon’s hottest young pop stars team up to great effect on this earworm sung mostly in French, with some English, blending Makhoul’s composition and Touma’s lyrics — and their complementary voices — for a song that, according to Makhoul, shows that “ego, in any relationship, can ruin a beautiful story.”

‘The Heart of Them’

Mohammad Ahmed Fikree

Emirati filmmaker Fikree just dropped the trailer for his upcoming animated feature — set for release at the end of the year — the culmination of seven years’ work. It’s the story of two sisters — the last humans — and their attempts “to reverse the destruction caused by their ancestors.”

‘Para Para’

DB Gad

The first major-label release from the Egyptian R&B and hip-hop artist and music producer is an Arabic rap track — with a trap beat — about falling in love. “Falling in love is beautiful,” Gad says in a press release. “Loving is crazy — it’s almost like you’re ready to jump into the ocean without a parachute.” Why you’d need a parachute in the ocean isn’t immediately clear.

‘Dream a Little Dream’

Luiza Formenius

Say this for the Stockholm-born, Dubai-based soprano: She doesn’t lack nerve. This classic track has already been covered more than 60 times — so if you’re going to take it on, you’d better be good. Formenius has gone for a modern crossover version, showcasing her soaring vocals over a “bouncy, almost tropical, bassline.”


French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

Updated 20 September 2020

French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

DUBAI:Up-and-coming French-Tunisian singer, model and actor Sonia Ben Ammar has joined the cast of “Scream 5,”  it’s been revealed this week.

 According to Variety, production on Spyglass Media and Paramount Pictures’ upcoming relaunch of the  famous horror film franchise is set to begin later this month.

Filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who are behind “Ready or Not,” are directing the forthcoming film.

The first “Scream” film was released in 1996, well before Ben Ammar was even born.  A smash hit upon its debut, the movie helped to revive the horror genre, becoming the highest-grossing slasher movie of all-time. 

This will be Paris-born Ammar’s first high-profile Hollywood gig as an actress. She along with other young franchise newcomers will be joining returning cast members David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, who are all reprising their iconic roles as Dewey Riley, Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott.

Plot details for the new film, set to debut in theaters on Jan. 14, 2022, are still under wraps,  so it is not yet known what role the French-Arab star will be taking on.

“I’m SCREAMing of excitement!! (sic)” wrote the 21-year-old on Instagram, announcing the news to her 730,000 social media followers. “Incredibly grateful to be part of one of my favorite franchises. 2nd photo is my face when I got the call lol (sic),” she captioned a screenshot of Variety’s article announcing the news and a blurry snap of her clearly overjoyed. 

However, it’s not the multi-hyphenate model’s first foray into the film industry.

Ben Ammar, who is the daughter of Tunisian film director Tarek Ben Ammar and actress Beata, previously starred in Guillaume Canet’s French-language film “Jappeloup” as well as the stage musical “1789: Les Amants de la Bastille.”

She’s also appeared in several music videos, including “Drivin’ Thru the Night” by DJ Petit Biscuit, as well as clips for her own singles, such as “Joyride” from her debut EP.

In addition to music, Ben Ammar is also a rising model, and has worked for many major brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Carolina Herrera and Chanel, among other prestigious fashion houses.