Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Fairuz

Sabbou7a, Fairuz, Lebanon female top famous singers: Different characters and styles

Saba7 died a few weeks ago. Fairouz is still young of 77 years old.

You may read the biography of late Saba7:

Nasri Atallah posted on FB this December 6 at 8:13pm ·

“While Fairuz represents Lebanon as it likes to imagine itself: transcendent, serious, beautiful, virginal, timeless, and poetic—Sabah represents a much more honest version of Lebanon: glamorous, colorful, tragic, obsessed with youth, funny, a little trashy, and lusty.

(Let’s not try hard to match Saba7 with this totally convoluted Lebanon)

It is the contradictory nature of Sabah that is inspiring to many: that she seemed to do what she wanted whenever she wanted and with whomever she wanted, the world be damned.

In fact, Sabah was so important to the Lebanese imaginary that her funeral mass was given by that country’s Maronite Patriarch.

There the Patriarch was—a sectarian, sexist, and conservative religious leader—solemnly praying for a woman who married and divorced 9 times, admitted to having affairs and “enjoying” many more men, and who didn’t care if those men were Christian or Muslim or purple, as long as she thought they were hot.

Even in death, Sabah forced the most reactionary elements of conservatism and sectarianism to listen and to take note of her.

She gave them no choice.

Her insistence on living her complicated and contradictory life and art openly and proudly inspired many, including myself” – Maya Mikdashi in Jadaliyya.

Happy 80th Birthday, Fairuz.

Dear Fairuz,

My first experience with Arabic music — perhaps music in general — came to me through you.

My mother used to sing “Yalla Tneim” to me, to put me to sleep, when I was still a toddler.

It was the only lullaby that would calm me down (and I was a particularly temperamental child, although my mum would probably deny this).

Incidentally, the timeless song still eases my racing, muddled thoughts, even though I’m well into my adulthood.

I’m fairly certain I speak to similar experiences for thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — when I share this.

My four brothers and I grew up in Ireland and the United Kingdom in the 1980s, but were frequently transported to Lebanon by way of the folk songs our mother would nostalgically play for us.

 Florence of Arabia shared this link

Fairuz turns 80 this weekend. I write a ridiculously cheesy love letter to her and pick some of my favourite Fairuz artwork and images from over the decades.

Mother often played your whimsical music from a small cassette player in the kitchen whilst cooking, telling us, proudly: “hayda Beirut. We’re in Beirut!” (We were, in fact, in the West Midlands at the time).”

‪#‎Lebanon‬ ‪#‎Fairuz‬ ‪#‎Beirut‬ ‪#‎Music‬ ‪#‎MiddleEast‬

This was how she — and so many others — connected with the wondrous and oft-overwhelming complexities of the motherland, even when it was in the midst of a brutal civil war.

We didn’t understand what conflict was, hadn’t the faintest idea what a “sect” was, or what it meant to be Lebanese or Arab, but we believed there was something special about our identity because of you.

I saw you once, more than ten years ago, at the American University of Beirut — from a distance — when you were awarded an honorary doctorate.

You were shy, quiet and reserved. You were physically there to accept the award, but you asked someone else to speak for you. I later learned this was not unusual.

We weren’t graced by your piercing voice at the time, but your presence struck the entire auditorium, nonetheless.

When you walked on stage, the applause was so loud, and so lengthy, you seemed gently perturbed by it. Almost like you didn’t want to acknowledge, or own, the legend that you’d become.

Almost like you were embarrassed by it.

At that particular point in time, when I naively subscribed to the tenacity of Lebanese patriotism, “Li Beirut” became one of my favourites, in all of its unabashed drama and intensity

Your music took on the role of a soundtrack to my late teens and my early twenties as I left south Lebanon for university and discovered Beirut (my family had returned to the country after the civil war subsided in the early 90s).

In this volatile coming-of-age context, your songs routinely pulled me toward romanticism and idealism.

For years, I was infatuated with “Ba3dak 3ala beli” and “Ahu Dalli Sar.” When I left the country again in 2006  — with a very heavy heart — I listened to your ballads on Arab nationalism almost every day.

On the gloomier the mornings in Manchester (and there were many),  your music helped me get out of bed and face the day.

A decade later, you continue to keep me company, mostly when I’m weighed down with homesickness.

As I sit in a bagel shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, writing this post, I’m listening to you sing “Ana ‘Aandi Hanin,” and I can’t help but think of the narrow, twisty and charming alleyways of Beirut.

Of the (once pleasant) scents and sounds of the bustling streets of the capital. Of my experience as a student at AUB, where I discovered liberalism along with the left-wing ballads of your son, Ziad.

And of Sunday lunch at my grandfather’s bistein in the South, which almost always involved ma7shi and argeeleh. 

[These thoughts almost render the bearded, skinny-jeaned hipster to my left invisible].

It’s a wonderful, palpable type of cognitive dissonance that I’ve grown accustomed to, as a [slightly reluctant] member of the Lebanese diaspora, over the years.

Earlier today, I listened to “Zahret Al Mada2en,” your dramatic, melancholic love letter to Jerusalem, on repeat.

The violence, the hatred, the political nuances: It all melts away with your voice.

In one of your songs, you ask your listeners to “visit” you, at least once a year. This is my way of doing just that (even though I listen to you several times a week).

Herewith is a collection of incredible photographs and images of you, spanning the decades, that I fell upon when scouring the internet. Call it my little Fairuz Shrine.

For this is what you are! A work of art — a Levantine opus — that continues to grow, year on year.

Happy Birthday, Nouhad Haddad.

I adored you as a child and as a teenager, and I continue to adore you as a young woman who pines for her homeland, just like my mother did, back in the eighties.

Adonis Bouhatab shared a link.
دقيت طل الورد عالشباك طل الورد عالشباك وينها؟ اتلبك وماعاد يحكي ماتت؟.. لتشو تخبي؟ انا وياك انا وياك انا وياك واحدنا يا ورد رح يبكي انت وانا يا ورد.. واحدنا …

Ziad Rahbani, son of the famous iconic singer Feyrouz, plans to exit the Lebanese stage: Immigrating to Russia TV

By the end of October.

Michael Young Published this Oct. 3/2014 

Lebanese composer, pianist, performer, playwright, and political commentator Ziad Rahbani performs during the festival of Zouk Mikael, north of Beirut, on July 25, 2013 (AFP Photo/Joseph Eid)

The announcement by musician and playwright Ziad al-Rahbani that he intended to “emigrate” to Russia because political horizons in Lebanon had narrowed was rich in contradiction.

Recently, after Rahbani suspected that Hezbollah was behind an effort to disrupt his concert in Naqoura, he began criticizing the party’s political behavior. (Actually, Ziad said that he strongly suspected Israel for the loud background noises, because Israel has the technological means for these disruptions)

He said, “We can no longer defend Hezbollah all the time. Hezbollah takes from us (the communists and the other secular and resistance forces), but gives nothing in return. What we do with [the party] it doesn’t do with us, to the extent that it doesn’t mention my name at all.”

Rahbani’s departure for Russia might not be permanent. (He said that he will be visiting Lebanon and has purchased an apartment).

It’s difficult to imagine him lasting very long in the endless Arctic nights, or getting much recognition in a country that is drawn to Vladimir Putin’s brand of xenophobia.

Come to think of it, it’s very hard to imagine Rahbani discovering political horizons in Putin’s Russia that are wider than in Lebanon. Even the artist’s attraction to communism is unlikely to mean much in a country that has preserved only a chauvinist form of nationalism from the communist era, grafted onto an oligarchic and corrupt capitalist economic system headed by a man who systematically creates new enemies to remain in power.

You wonder, then, if the motive is less ideological than cultural, a consequence of how Russia is perceived, perhaps mythically, in the Lebanese Greek Orthodox imagination. Then again, even culturally, can Rahbani long delight in a country governed by a hooligan, blessed by a materialistic and fatuous clergy as influential as the materialistic, fatuous clergy is in Lebanon? (Ziad was clear that the move was for professional reasons and enhancing his career)

Rahbani’s disenchantment with Hezbollah is hardly surprising. But it took him rather a long time to notice the party’s authoritarian core, its suffocation of any alternative paths in the Shiite community, and its habitual resort to intimidation, or worse, with opponents.

Last December Rahbani publicly declared that his mother, the singer Fairuz, admired Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, an announcement that provoked a furor.

But Rahbani is not leaving Lebanon and Hezbollah for more open climes. The behavior of the authorities in Putin’s Russia is not very different than that of Hezbollah.

For all his contradictions, Rahbani may soon realize that it is much easier to put on a play in Lebanon that welcomes the arrival of a dictator, as he did with Bikhsous al-Karameh wal Shaab al-Aaneed (With Respect to Dignity and the Stubborn People), than it is to put on a play in Russia that would welcome the arrival of democracy.

Notwithstanding Rahbani’s fine ability to pick apart the idiosyncrasies and pathologies in Lebanese society, Lebanon remains – despite its dysfunctional nature, its self-destructiveness, the incompetence of its leadership, and the deep frustrations it engenders – an outpost of pluralism and liberty in a region where this has almost disappeared.

Rahbani is living proof of this. Before and during the civil war he wrote a series of biting, brilliant plays that have become standards in Lebanon’s cultural consciousness.

All his plays were in some ways critical of the country and society, but Rahbani’s humor made them perfectly tolerable and greatly enjoyable. He showed us that the Lebanese could laugh at themselves and that was enough.

Yet once Hezbollah came onto the scene, the laughing stopped, except to the extent that when Rahbani declared his backing for Hezbollah, many of us laughed, so improbable was the match.

That Rahbani and Fairuz, artists of immense talent and imagination, should beat to the same rhythm as an authoritarian, sectarian, secretive party that gains its life-force from perpetual conflict and a cult of martyrdom remains a genuine oddity.

Rahbani is hardly the first person from the political left to have developed sympathies for Hezbollah.

It’s reassuring that he’s finally seen through the impossibility of that marriage. You can only presume that one day the Shiite community, with its own innate pluralism, will go in a similar direction, once the sectarian wars that Hezbollah has been fueling begin to die down and the exhausted Shiites have time to take stock.

All one can say to Ziad al-Rahbani is stick around. Lebanon may not be Nirvana, but at least you have the country’s number, and it can always benefit from your wicked wit.

Give us another jazz album, if you have nothing to do. Fight Hezbollah with Charlie Parker and Bud Powell, not with Vladimir Putin. Rest assured, at least we will continue to mention your name.

Michael Young is opinion editor of The Daily Star newspaper. He tweets @BeirutCalling

Note: I watched the segment in Arabic on New TV.

Ziad was clear as water: “I reached the age of retirement. I could not change the stinky socio-political system in Lebanon and I don’t want to let this system change me and humiliate me in my old age.

I am moving on to where I can be supported to resume doing what I love to do…”.

And what if he is broke? At least he has the possibility to move on and the courage to decide to live in a different environment.

Ziad pronouncement struck a vigorous chord in me.

Ziad said that Hassan Nasr Allah highlights the articles he publishes in Al Akhbar, but he never received any acknowledgment or letter from him.

I wish those who are criticizing Ziad be as talented and as engaged as he is.




January 2023

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