Fairuz: Celebrated Lebanese singer turns 85 | Tradition| Arts, music and life-style reporting from Germany | DW

She hasn’t been on stage for a number of years now, her most up-to-date album was launched in 2017 — but Fairuz is omnipresent. Whether or not in Beirut, Baghdad, Dubai or Rabat, if you activate the radio within the morning, you might be certain to listen to her acquainted voice. The Lebanese singer’s songs have been a part of the every day repertoire of Arabic-language radio stations for many years, because it behooves an icon. And she or he could be very a lot an icon, the Moroccan music ethnologist Mohcine Ait Ramdan advised DW.

“Fairuz is among the cornerstones of Arabic music and tradition usually,” stated Ramdan. “She remains to be a key determine for the youthful technology, too. You possibly can inform by the truth that again and again, her songs are interpreted in expertise exhibits like Voice Arab.”

In 2016, her picture was projected on a constructing in Ballbek and her music performed in a ceremony to mark her 81st birthday

Honoring an influential girl

Her catchy, melancholic songs about love, longing, peace and solidarity with the native nation have endeared Fairuz to tens of millions of Arabs over the a long time. Even at this time, her albums are among the many best-selling within the Arab World.

At age 78, Fairuz was formally named Ambassador of Arab Tradition, lengthy after being inofficially revered as “Harp of the Orient” and “Mom of the Lebanese Nation.” She is so well-known that even French President Emanuel Macron paid her a go to at her dwelling within the Beirut suburb of Rabieh whereas on a state go to to Lebanon a month after the devastating explosion in Beirut in August 2020. Macron awarded her the Legion of Honor, France’s highest order of benefit for army and civil achievements, as soon as established by Napoleon Bonaparte — and he stayed for dinner. “Fairuz provides us hope,” he stated afterwards. He described her as “very lovely, very robust” and known as her a logo of a rustic that is aware of ache and glory. The reclusive singer shared the assembly along with her followers on Twitter.

image of Fairuz on a building at night

Within the provincial metropolis of Baalbek there have been a number of birthday galas for Fairuz, and her picture was projected all around the metropolis

Rise to fame

Fairuz was born Nouhad Haddad on November 21, 1935, though in accordance with some sources the date could have been November 20, 1934. The girl with the highly effective voice onstage is a really non-public individual and by no means clarified the precise date. She and her three siblings grew up within the historic middle of Beirut. In the summertime she would go to her grandmother in a small village within the mountains. These childhood experiences later enabled her to credibly converse to each rural Lebanon and the big-city elite.

As a youngster within the late Nineteen Forties, she sang in a choir on the radio. The music Itab made her well-known in a single day in 1952, however it wasn’t till 1957 that she first appeared stay onstage, on the Baalbeck Worldwide Pageant — and was promptly awarded the celebrated Cavalier Artist Prize by Lebanese President Camille Chamoun.

 Fairuz 2008 in Dubai with a sun umbrella

In 2008 in Dubai, Fairuz performed the main function within the musical “Sah El-Nom,” written by the Rahbani brothers

That was the day that Fairuz, whose stage identify means “turquoise” in Arabic, skyrocketed to fame as an iconic Arabic singer. And it wasn’t simply her distinctive voice, as Tunisian musicologist and singer Dorsaf Hamdani as soon as advised German public radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. “Fairuz led a revolution, one which modified the aesthetic code of music, the folks round her — Fairuz modified Arab tradition.”

Tune is the key of all existence

Fairouz married Assi Rahbani in 1954. He and his brother Mansour established a brand new type of music in Sixties Lebanon, a rustic that was comparatively secure politically and economically after the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the dissolution of the French mandate. That musical type contributed considerably to the id of the younger state.

The brothers composed people music, however in a classicistic method, setting poems by well-known philosophers like Khalil Gibran to music in a rustic the place people music and classical Arabic music had been as soon as separate genres. When Fairuz delivered the road “Singing is the key of all existence,” she touched the very hearts of her audiences. 

Political neutrality 

The truth that she was by no means lively in politics in any means additionally explains the key of her success all through the Arab World for many years, Mohcine Ait Ramdan stated — even through the Lebanese Civil Warfare from 1975 till 1990. “There is no such thing as a room for violence in her songs. She sings for peace, for light-heartedness,” added Ramadan, emphasizing that there isn’t a hint of politics or non secular messages in Fairuz’ music. In Syria, her songs are performed on the radio, which is managed by the Assad authorities, in addition to on media held by the opposition. She was not resented for the discharge of a music honoring Jerusalem, Ramdan stated — nor has the truth that she is a Christian ever been a difficulty within the Muslim World. “Most individuals most likely do not even know,” he defined.

Worldwide fame 

Fairuz conquered the levels of the world in Cairo, Rabat and Amman in addition to New York, London, Paris and Athens. She is alleged to have recorded greater than 1,500 songs, launched greater than 80 albums and starred in at the very least 20 musicals. Initially of this decade she reinvented herself and launched the jazzy album “Eh Fi Amal” in collaboration along with her son, the composer Ziad Rahbani. In “Bebalee” of 2017, she coated songs by French chansonnier Gilbert Becaud and sang an Arabic model of John Lennon’s hit music “Think about.”

Libanon Fairuz 2007 in Athens

A singer with a barely mysterious aura

“These final albums had been very up to date. Particularly, musicians from an older period normally do not handle to maneuver on like that,” Ramdan noticed. This has earned her a lot respect among the many youthful technology, whereas older folks generally do not know what to make of it. “Fairuz is a good singer,” wrote Abdo Wazen, head of the function part of the pan-Arabic Al Hayat newspaper. “However I believe some followers wonder if it was actually obligatory for Fairuz to sing one thing new in her final years.”

Not needing to fret about criticism, Fairuz can relaxation assured of her standing as a musical icon and legend. On her eighty fifth birthday, celebrations all through the nation is likely to be extra muted than regular resulting from coronavirus pandemic restrictions, however the Lebanese are certain to want their Mom of the Nation “Tahanina” — Congratulations!


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