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Fairouz (فَيروز), one of the most famous and respected Arab artists, is a Lebanese singer (مُغَنِّيَة) born on November 21, 1935. Born Nouhad Haddad, she acquired her stage name Fairouz which means ‘turquoise’ after she was introduced to Halim el-Roumi (حَليم الرّومي), head of the Lebanese Radio Station in the 1950s. Her fame later acquired her many titles such as “Ambassador to the Stars” (سَفيرة الى النُّجوم). Having the gift of a remarkable voice, Fairouz first started singing at a very young age in school. She was discovered later by Mohammad Fleyfel (مُحَمد فلَيْفِل) , a musician at the Lebanese Conservatory (المَعهَد العالي للموسيقى), at one of these school shows and was later introduced to el-Roumi and put on national radio (الراديو الوطني). It was her singing at the Lebanese Radio Station that caught the attention of the Rahbani Brothers (الأَخَوين الرَّحباني) ,Assi and Mansour, two musicians also working at the station at the time. Assi started composing songs for her, and what is known as one of the most significant artistic collaborations(تَعاوُن) emerged along with a courtship and a marriage. On January 23, 1955, Fairouz and Assi got married, and long journey of success had begun. With the Rahbani Brothers, Fairouz sang for love(الحُبّ) , she sang for her country(الوَطَن) , she sang for peace(السّلام) , she sang for Palestine and she sang for the world. What she refused to sing for were individuals, as in political figures per se, for in what is evidently one of her strongest political statements, Fairouz refused in 1969 to sing for then Algerian President Boumedienne and was punished by being banned on national radio for six months. In later years, and as Assi’s health started deteriorating, Fairouz turned to their son, Ziad, for artistic collaborations. During the 1990s and more so in the last ten years Fairouz produced several albums with Ziad. Her choice to conform to Ziad’s genre of Oriental Jazz and move away from the more classical Lebanese music people were used to hear her sing has brought her some criticism but also much appreciation.
In a fresh take on the jazz classic ‘Autumn Leaves’, Fairouz sings for fall through Ziad’s acoustic interpretation of this classic. ‘Bi ZakkirBilKharif’ (بيذَكِّر بالخَريف) encapsulates a very Lebanese reminiscent kind of fall that is very nostalgic and romantic (رومانسِيّ)at the same time. She sings for a lost love whose face reminds her of fall and asks him if he still admires fall like she does. And so in this song, nostalgia (الحَنين), the best known characteristic of Fairouz’s singing, is brought out through one of the year’s most romantic seasons. As I look around me today and see all those fall leaves (أوراق الخَريف) and smell the wind changing, I can’t but think of Fairouz and all her lost loves.