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Πέμπτη, 31 Μαΐου 2007

FAIRUZ: THE VOICE OF ANGLES ON EARTH

"I don't speak of anything other than that which I can make and I make. I achieve my goals when my voice and I can change something in the people's misery. That makes me happy. I am the daughter of poverty and I am speaking to the poor ones from this place of mine which is theirs too. It's great that Tunisia thought about the human being. That's the most important thing. I hope that my presence and my voice help reduce the people's pain. I hope that Tunisia be role modeled by other Arab countries to think likewise of their peoples."
Fairuz's message to the Tunisians during her concert in Tunis, 1998.

The REAL symbol of Lebanon, Fairuz, the Lebanese singer has enjoyed star status throughout the Arab world since recording her first performences in Damascus in the 1950's. With over 1500 songs and musicals to her name the legend of today is yesterday's shy little village girl. The superstar of today is yesterday's chorus member at a radio station. The one acclaimed by crowds as magical, brilliant and fascinating is still the one that continues to experience a special joy as she sings and spots the absorbed attention of a single anonymous listener in a crowd. Born in an Assyrian Orthodox Christian family from the town of Jabal Al Arz Fairuz grew up in 'Zkak el Blatt' an old neighborhood in Beirut. She began her musical career as a chorus member at the Lebanese Radio Station. In the late 1950s her talent as a singer became fully acknowledged. Met with unprecedented enthusiasm, Fairuz's early songs featured the singer's distinct vocal timbre and lyrics expressing romantic love and nostalgia for village life. They meshed with a delicate orchestral blend in which certain Arab instruments figured prominently but which also subtly incorporated European instruments and European popular dance rythms. She also sometimes sang adaptations Arab folk tunes. By the early1960s Fairouz was already one of the main attractions of the annual Baalbeck Festivals and a celebrety not only in Lebanon but throughout the Arab world. The dissemination of hundreds of songs, many musical plays and several films had widened her audience to include Arabs living in Europe and the Americas. During most of her singing career, Fairuz was part of a three-member team which included the two Rahbani brothers. Generally, her lyrics were written by Mansour Rahbani, and the tunes were composed and arranged by his brother 'Assi, Fairuz's former husband. Fairouz's songs owe a great deal to the musical and poetic genius of these two Lebanese artists. In recent years they have also reflected the composing talent of Ziad Rahbani, Fairouz's son. In addition, they testify to Fairouz's broad musical background, which encompasses Christian liturgical forms as well as the secular traditions of Arab music. The Fairuz-Rahbani legacy is a peculiarly twentieth-century cultural phenomenon. During the early postwar decades, most urban communities in the Arab world underwent rapid expansion, partly because of an influx of population from the rural areas. The city of Beirut in particular had absorbed a substantial number of people whose ethnic and social roots went back to various Lebanese villages, especially those in the mountainous regions of central and northern Lebanon. Politically and socially influential, this segment provided fertile ground for the rise of a new artistic tradition - music, dance, poetry, fashions, handicrafts - whose context was unmistakably urban but whose ration was folk and rural. For the girl who loved to sing to her friends and neighbors in the little village of 'Debbieh' where her grandmother lived, it was an overwhelming experience when, in 1957, Lebanon's President Chamoun presented Fairuz with the "Cavalier", the highest medal ever conferred on a Lebanese Artist. Twelve years later, a memorial Lebanese stamp was issued in her name. Meeting royalty, once an experience she had expected to encounter only in the fairy tales of her childhood, has become a reality for her. King Hassan II of Morocco not only invited her to perform at the Royal Palace but appeared in person to greet her at the Rabat airport.In 1963, King Hussein of Jordan presented her with the Medal of Honor, followed by his Majesty's Gold Medal in 1975. In Brazil, the crowds attempted to carry her with her limousine. In 1981, while touring in the U.S., she was honored by Senators, Governors and Mayors of various cities. The influx of Americans attending her concerts became evident. A scholar from Harvard University, Barry Hoberman wrote: "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."Describing one of her most memorable record breaking concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Daily Mail wrote: "The box office was besieged as never before. Tickets changed hands at more than l,000 Pounds on the black market. Takings reached a record, breaking the previous best when Frank Sinatra was in town. And who was the star that packed them in last night? Madonna? Springsteen? Domingo? Horowitz? No ... FAIRUZ, the top female singer in the Arab world."She has sung about 1500 songs and sold about 80 million units of records around the world, but what remains her greatest achievement in terms of vocal performance and talent is the CD of the Orthodox Great Friday Prayers that she recorded in 1965 in Lebanon and then again in 1985 in the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral in France, both live performances in churches. Her voice simply transcends the human hearing range and nature to reach an ethereal state that takes you beyond a mere hearing experience. Any one around the world who has the chance to hear her holy prayers, no matter what religion or sect, has the chance to experience heaven on earth, or at least to know how an angel’s voice sounds. Fairuz sang in many internationally famous venues like the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1962, in Carnegie Hall, New York in 1971, London Palladium in 1978, Paris Olympia in 1979, and in the Royal Festival Hall, London in 1986. At the age of 73, and to the amazement of her fans, still has the same angelic voice that has enchanted millions for decades and after undergoing several tests in United States, seems to have solid vocal cords that didn't change much in structure with aging, a rarity among recording artists who strain their vocals most of their lives. She is considered the most popular and respected living Arab singer.
In the selected songs below are represented the different stages of Fairouz's career and the different styles she sang. The first two tracks are two masterpieces from Arabic classical poetry. Ya Meet Masa belongs to the Lebanese/Shami folklore. Zourouni is a rearrangement of a famous song by Sayed Darwish. Ghannaitu Makkah and Bisan are examples of the many songs she sang for other Arab countries. Ya Ana Ya Ana is a reorchestration of the 40th Symphony by Mozart.'Oudak Rannan is one her fabulous songs, remixed here by her son Ziad. Mosh Fara'h Ma'ay is a composition of Ziad, with whom she moved along to the heart of modern Arabic music.

1. Ohibbu Min Al Asmaa00:03:15
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2. Alf Lailah
00:03:14
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3. Ya Meet Masa
00:02:50
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4. Zorouni
00:03:01
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5. Ghannaitu Makkah
00:14:22
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6. Bisan
00:03:19

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7. Shatt Iskindiryah
00:03:33
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8. Nehna Wel Amar Jeeran
00:03:01
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9. Ya Ana Ya Ana
00:02:24
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10. 'Oudak Rannan (Remix)
00:05:11

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11. Mosh Fara'h Ma'ay
00:06:41
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From Oriental Melodies.com

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