On her 86th birthday… Fayrouz is the voice of the valley that conquered hearts

About the homeland, joy, sadness, love, children, mother and life, the neighbor of the moon, Fayrouz, presented a singing career full of very diverse songs. The Queen, the Seventh Column of Baalbek and the Icon, with its emergence and artistic discovery at the end of the 1940s, then its brilliance in the 1950s; He made Fairuz one of the golden generation of singing and theater in the Arab world, not only in Lebanon, with her overwhelming presence and different creativity.

shame and poverty

Shyness was the obvious feature of the little girl, Nouhad Wadih Haddad, who later chose the musician Halim Al-Roumi’s artistic name, “Fayrouz”.

Nouhad, who was born in 1935, was the eldest daughter of a family who lived in one room in Zkak El-Blat in the old neighborhood. Her mother, Lisa Al-Bustani, helped take care of her three younger brothers, while her father worked in the Lebanese newspaper L’orient-le. jour).

Nihad was not good at making friends at school because of her extreme shyness, but this shyness did not prevent her from singing. The family did not have enough money to buy a radio, so she sang for them “Nuhad”, which she was allowed to hear by chance for singing stars at the time such as Umm Kulthum and Muhammad Abdel Wahab. Asmahan and Laila Murad.

Stardom from the heart of Beirut

Artistic tendencies appeared on Fayrouz early, and she was participating in school parties until she met by chance Muhammad Fleifel when she was 14 years old. He is “Fairuz”.

Al-Roumi not only gave her the artistic name, but also the launch for success through his tunes that opened the doors of success for her. She presented with him the song “Ya Hamam Ya Marouh” from the words of the poet Fathi Qura, and despite its singing in the beginnings in the Egyptian dialect; Fayrouz maintained her Lebanese singing identity, and did not get carried away by the great fame that stars achieved in Egypt at this time, but rather achieved her popularity and success in the Arab world from the heart of Lebanon.

Musical schools that shaped her career

Filmon Wehbe, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Zaki Nassif and Rahbani, different musical schools shaped Fairuz’s singing career, but throughout 3 decades of this journey the extended and largest cooperation with the Rahbani brothers, where she met Assi and Mansour Rahbani on the radio with the beginning of the fifties of the last century, Rahbani went a long way Whatever Fayrouz’s singing career, this cooperation strengthened her marriage to Assi in the mid-fifties, with whom she gave birth to her four sons, Ziyad, Layal, who passed away a year after her father’s death, and Hala and Rima.

But Fayrouz maintained diversity, and she performed with Assi and Mansour songs such as “Ya Hanina”, “We and the moon are neighbors” and “We are the air, our wound”, and on the other hand, she performed with Filimon Wehbe, “Ya Rit” and “Ya Mersal Al Marassel” and ” “Lee Al-Baki came to me”, to mix in her choices between oriental melodies, western melodies and popular Lebanese folklore, and created a lyrical identity different from the prevailing long oriental songs at the time, so she presented short-term songs with expressive words.

Fayrouz was not satisfied with this diversity, so she also sang to the musician of generations, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, in the early sixties, who composed for her the song “Sahar after Sahar”, and sang for her within the song’s choir himself. The words of the poet Said Akl.

Fayrouz presented the songs in an album in which she presented songs that she sang to Abdel Wahab, such as “I am afraid, I say what is in my heart” and “Ya Jarat al-Wadi”.

Musical theatre

In a long and great career, Fayrouz presented nearly 800 songs besides the Andalusian Muwashahat and Mawwail, and the lyrical theater, which added a lot to her career, as the topics of her songs varied, and she did not sing only for love. The Keys Watcher, “Hala and the King” and “People of Paper”, and presented the character of Queen Shakila in the play “Petra”, and besides the theater, Fairuz presented some films, including the movie “Biyaa al-Khaleeb” with Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, and presented with director Henry Barakat. The films “Safar Berlik – Exile” and “The Guardian’s Girl”.

The Palestinian cause

She also supported the Palestinian cause through her songs that expressed Palestinian anger at the Israeli occupation. She sang “Zahret al-Mada’in”, “Jaffa”, “Peace be to you, O people of the occupied land”, “I do not forget you Palestine”, “Ancient Jerusalem” and “Bridge”. return”.

Ziyad’s boldness

Coincidence also gave Fairuz the opportunity to experiment when her husband, Assi fell ill during the preparation of the play “Al Mahatta”, so that her son Ziad Rahbani composed the song “They asked me people” instead of his father in 1973, and in the late nineties she presented her first album with Ziad “Wahdan”, which was a prelude to a musical shift. For Fairuz’s career, and in the same year in which the album was released, she had announced her human and artistic separation from Assi Rahbani after they appeared together in a big party at the Olympia Theater in France.

The eighties and nineties were characterized in her career by experimentation and musical daring, by presenting jazz music clearly and explicitly with Ziad, with whom she presented 6 albums, in addition to redistributing some of his father Assi’s melodies such as “Habetek Bisaif”, and the album “A fi Amal” constituted a revolution in the world of music. Mixing jazz and Lebanese folk music.

Fayrouz was not satisfied with her cooperation with Ziad. In 1994, she released the album “Fayrouz Sings Zaki Nassif”, which witnessed her cooperation with the great musician Zaki Nassif. 4 songs, including “You don’t want to be.”

A break with Ziad

This great success that Fairouz achieved with her son Ziad ended in 2013, after an interview he gave to the Lebanese magazine “Snoop” in which he revealed his mother’s political leanings, and that she admires the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, And Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, and the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, which angered her greatly, so she issued a statement in which she said that what Ziyad had said was nothing more than “Ziyadian jurisprudence”, which caused a rupture for 3 years between them, and Ziyad then announced the reconciliation between them. .

The great success that Fairuz achieved with her son Ziad, was the exact opposite of that with her daughter, Rima, who manages her business, and wrote to her the words of her last album “Babali”, which was released in 2017, which did not add anything new to Fairuz’s singing career and missed a lot of her presence.

The seventh column of Baalbek

Fayrouz won great stardom in the world of concerts, especially after her participation with Rahbanieh in the Baalbek Festival in 1957, and she won the title of the seventh column of Baalbek, and after the great success she achieved on the stage, festivals and concerts continued in Damascus, Piccadilly Theater and many Arab and international cities as well.

In one of her performances in Morocco, she was personally received by King Hassan II of Morocco at the airport, and in 1999 she gave a huge concert in Las Vegas, and the city’s mayor officially announced that May 15 of this year is “Fayrouz Day”.

The French President’s visit to her home

She received many honors and decorations, including the Medal of Honor in 1963, the Gold Medal from the late King Hussein bin Talal of Jordan in 1975, and former French President Francois Mitterrand awarded her the Order of the Commander of Arts and Letters in 1988, and President Jacques Chirac awarded her the Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1998.

And in 2015. The house in which she grew up turned into a museum, years after the building was listed on the list of heritage buildings.

However, her honor by French President Emmanuel Macron with the highest honor of the “French Legion of Honor” in 2020 – when he visited her at her home in Lebanon – did not go unnoticed, as she was criticized by some on social media pages, who blamed her for her lack of appearance and her refusal to meet her audience. While she agreed to receive the French president, considering that France is one of the causes of the crises that Lebanon is going through, but on the contrary, many considered honoring Fairuz from the French president with the highest honors worthy of her career and her great position in the world of art.


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