Nuevo Culture

WATCH: Elyanna Becomes First Artist to Sing in Arabic on ‘The Late Show’

Rising star Elyanna made history last night (May 8) with her performance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The Palestinian-Chilean singer became the first artist to sing in Arabic on the late-night TV show.

Elyanna was born and raised in her Palestinian hometown of Nazareth. She also took family trips to Viña del Mar in Chile. Last year, she made her global debut as a performer at Coachella. After singing songs from her two self-titled EPs, Elyanna became the first artist to fully perform in Arabic at the festival. She also sang an Arabic version of “La Vie En Rose,” popularized by French icon Édith Piaf. 

“When I moved to the U.S., I didn’t expect to sing in Arabic,” Elyanna told Remezcla in a recent interview. “It was never a part of my plan. But every step has been a journey towards finding my voice.”

Last night, Elyanna made her late-night TV debut in the U.S. on Stephen Colbert’s show. She performed a mesmerizing medley of her hits “Callin’ U (Tamally Maak)” and “Mama Eh.” While performing the latter song fully in Arabic, Elyanna put on a keffiyeh, which many saw as her proudly representing her Palestinian culture. People also viewed it as a sign of solidarity with Palestine amidst the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

Elyanna’s performance received rave reviews. On X (formerly known as Twitter), one person wrote, “ELYANNA WEARING A KEFFIYEH ON HER FIRST LIVE AMERICAN TELEVISION DEBUT THE F**KING STATEMENT!!! OUR PALESTINIAN MOTHER!” Another person added, “Elyanna really smashing that glass ceiling for arab/arabic speaking artists.

Last month, Elyanna released her debut album, Woledto. “My new album reflects my growth as an artist and it showcases a blend of my cultural background and influences that have shaped me — definitely a lot more Spanish music influence,” she told Remezcla. 

Check out the performance below.