Musicians of the 50th : Fairuz and Rahbani Brothers
21 years, Bachelor in Multimedia
Beyrouth - Lebanon
In 1950, Lebanon, the small country that overlooks the Meditteranean Sea, became the “Switzerland of the Orient”. During this period, this land, where 18 religions lived together in peace, was full of tourists from the Gulf, the Far East and the Occident. Friendship, love, peace, safety, charity, life on the pond, joy, and happiness, but above all this the arts : this is how life was in Lebanon. In fact, when arts and culture are high, you can be sure that the country is very good !
by Carla Fleyhan
Assi Rahbani (1923-1986), and his brother Mansour Rahbani (who died recently in 13 january 2009) and Fairuz (Assi’s wife) formed the golden trio of Lebanon. They built the history and the image of Lebanon that we still have in our memory. As Picasso said “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
Rahbani Brothers weren’t simple musicians. On the contrary, they were composers, songwriters, authors, playwrights/ dramatists, philosophers, poets and musicians.
Nohad Haddad, later known as Fairuz, was one of the singers in the chorus. She had an angelic voice, and she became soon the diva of the Orient. A lot of singers tried to imitate her but nobody could : she is unique ! Assi Rahbani (who became her husband) made her the first song called “Itab” (“blame”). So, the musical team started in the 1951, and then, they released about 50 songs in the following 3 years.
In 1957, the trio performed for the first time at the Baalbeck International Festival; it was the first time that local Lebanese artists had appeared in the festival.
The musicals were mostly focused on the village life, the innocence of growing up, the problems of love, parental care, youth and critics on politics. Rahbani Brothers also wrote and directed hundreds of theatrical and TV productions. They also launched the careers of artists such as Geogette Sayegh, Najat Al Saghira, Wadih Al Safi, Ronza, Fadia Tomb, Huda (young sister of Fairuz) and many others
Fairouz - "Bektob esmak ya habibi" (I wrote your name my love)
I write your name my Lover on the old poplar, you write my name my Lover on the sand road. And when it will rain on the broken stories, your name will stay, but mine will be erased...
In the 60th, the trio made some films :
- 1965 : Biyya’ El Kahawatem (Rings for sale) directed by Egyptian film director Youssef Chahine.
- 1967 : Safar Barlek (Exile)
- 1968 : Bint El Hares (Night Guard’s daughter)
In 1971, the western world knew the trio Fairuz, Assi and Mansour after the successful concert they did at Carnegie Hall in the United States. After that, they had a tour in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Voice of Fairuz touched the world and her fame became international.
“After years of thirst, a voice like fresh water has arrived. A cloud, a love letter from another planet: Fairuz has overwhelmed us with ecstasy. Names and figures of speech remain too small to define her. She alone is our agency of goodwill to which those of us looking for love and poetry belong. When Fairouz sings, mountains and rivers follow her voice, the mosque and the church, the oil jars and loaves of bread. Through her, every one of us is made to blossom, and once we were no more than sand; men drop their weapons and apologize. Upon hearing her voice, our childhood is molded anew.” (syrian poet Nizar Qabbani)
"The voice of Fairouz is the single most beautiful voice I have ever heard. In her voice the Orient and the West meet and mix." (Hungarian Opera Singer Anna Korsek)
"Quite simply, Fairuz is one of the world's nonpareil musicians and outstanding artists, an international treasure of the order of Rostropovich, Sills, Ravi Shankar, Miles Davis, Sutherland, Pavarotti and Dylan." (Harvard University scholar Barry Hoberman)
This song is called "Addeish kan fi nass" (There were many people)
There were many people waiting for others, while it was raining and they carry umbrellas... but me, it was shiny and nobody waited for me...
In 1975, the civil war broke out in Lebanon. Blood was everywhere. Everything became cut in two: two Beiruts, two villages, two cinemas, one for Christians and other for Muslems. Despite this bad situation, Rahbani Brothers continued to use political satire and sharp criticism in their plays. So, in 1977, they released the musical Petra that was shown in both the Muslim western and Christian eastern portions of Beirut.
In 1979, Fairuz had the Olympia concert, at the heart of Paris. She also performed a concert at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Arena in 1999. Ever since, Fairuz made many concerts at the Beiteddine International Festival (Lebanon) from 2000 to 2003, Paris (2002), the United States (2003), Amman (2004), Montreal (2005), Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Baalbeck, Biel (2006), Athens, Amman (2007) Damascus, and Bahrain (2008).
by Carla Fleyhan
Today, in 2009, we still wake up early in the morning on Fairuz and Rahbani songs. No other songs lived that much ! Unfortunatly, we have many artists nowadays but, only a little of them deserve to be called artists ! Art started to fall when televisons and producers transform it to a business ! Art became a way of gaining money. A lot of melodies are stolen, a lot of singers sing with their body and don’t have the minimum of voice ! Nowadays, we miss the wonderful dreams, written by Rahbani Brothers and sang by Fairuz.