Arabic Language Blog

Arab Artists: Fairouz – فيروز Posted by on Apr 28, 2010 in Culture

This is the first post in a monthly series featuring Arab artists from across the Arab World. As we go forward I will introduce one or more artists from each Arab country along with some of their music or their respective art.

To begin this series I decided to feature Nouhad Haddad, more commonly known as Fairouz (Turquoise), perhaps my favorite Arab artist and singer. Fairouz was born in Cedar Mountain, Lebanon, on November 21, 1935. She is one of the most popular artists in the Arab world, and is widely considered the most famous living Arab artist today. If I had to compare her to a western artist in terms of stature, I would say she is to the Arab world what Frank Sinatra is to western culture. Fairouz was married to Assi Rahbani, a playwright and composer who shaped much of her musical career. Fairouz and Assi had four children: sons Ziad and Hali, and daughters Layal and Rima. Her son, Ziad, who also became a playwright and composer, later took the role of his father and composed for Fairouz. Her daughter Rima is a director and photographer.

As well as a famous and renowned artist, Fairouz is also considered a cultural icon and a symbol of Lebanese pride. This image owes in part to her musical style, which is very traditional and folkloric. For a lengthy period of time Fairouz’s music was considered melancholic and political, especially works that were written and recorded during the Lebanese civil war (1975-1991). One such song presented below is titled Shady, the name of a boy who goes missing during the war. The story is recounted through the eyes of a little girl who was Shady’s playmate.

من زمان وأنا صغيرة كان فى صبي
يجي من الأحراش
نلعب انا وياه
كان اسمه شادي

انا وشادي غنينا سوى
لعبنا على التلج ركضنا بالهوى
كتبنا ع الحجار قصص صغار
ولوحنا الهوى

ويوم من الايام ولعت الدنى
ناس ضد ناس علقوا بها الدنى
وصار القتال يقرب
عالتلال والدنى دنى

وعلقت على أطراف الوادي
شادي ركض يتفرج
خفت وصرت اندهله
وينك رايح يا شادي
اندهله وما يسمعني
ويبعد يبعد بالوادي
و من يومتها ما عدت شفت
ضاع شادي

والتلج اجى و راح التلج
عشرين مرة اجى و راح التلج
وانا صرت اكبر
و شادي بعد صغير
عم يلعب عالتلج

Long ago when I was young there was a boy
who would come from the woods
We played he and I
His name was Shady

Me and Shady sang together
We played on the snow and ran through the wind
We wrote little stories on the rocks
And we waved our arms in the air

Then one day the world became smothered in flames
People against people, they fought in this world
And the fighting started to get near the hills
And the world… what a world

And the fighting started on the edge of the valley
Shady ran to watch
I became frightened and called out to him
“Where are you going Shady?”
I called out for him but her never heard me
Only he went further and further into the valley
And since that day I no longer saw him
Shady become lost

And the snow has come and gone
Twenty times it’s come and gone
And I’ve gotten older
While Shady is still small
Playing on the snow

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  1. john:

    Shukran. Fairuz is truly a treasure. I discovered her 3 years ago and have started a collection of her music. I speak/understand little Arabic but
    her soul comes through anyway. Sorry I missed
    her when she came to Detroit,Michigan years
    ago. Maybe she will come back ?????

  2. Mohamad:

    Hey John,

    She is absolutely fantastic. There’s a unique energy about her music and voice that is very difficult to explain. I think she awakens something in every person through her music.

    She is getting old, but I’ll cross my fingers that she does make another tour.


  3. آرت نا:

    أهلا بکم
    إن وکالة الأنباء الایرانیة الفنیة باسم «آرت نا» التی ، هی أول وکالة الانباء حول الأحداث و الاخبار الفنیة فی ایران و العالم، بدء ت نشاطاتها فی کافة الاختصاصات الفنون، و لذالک نرحب ان ناخذ جمیع و الاخِر أخبار و احداثکم الفنیة تحت غطاء:
    الأخبار ، مکتوبات ، حوارات ، مقالات ، أخبار المعارض الفنیة و…
    مع جزیل شکر و الامتنان
    داود یاراحمدی
    رئیس تحریریة وکالة الأنباء «آرت نا»