Meet Julia Boutros Posted by jesa on Dec 9, 2012 in Arabic Language, Culture
In this post, I would like to introduce you all to one of my favorite musicians in the Arab World. I will add two YouTube videos: one of her most famous songs ‘Ghabet Shams el Haq’ (غابة شمس الحقّ)and given the holiday season, her latest single called ‘Jayi’ (جايي) which is featured on her upcoming Christmas album dubbed ‘Miladak’(ميلادك)
Inspired and influenced by the Rahbani Brothers (briefly featured in a previous post on Fairuz and Fall) Julia Boutros is by far one of the most recognized Arab female musicians in the Middle East and North Africa. She is also admired by many expatriates from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine living in the United States of America, Canada and different European states. Her music is an icon for nationalism (القومية), patriotism (الوطنية)and love (الحب). She usually contributes a part of her earnings from concerts and performances to support national and humanitarian (انسانية) causes in Lebanon and the Arab World. In 2006, she amassed over 3 million dollars from sales of one of her patriotic songs to fully donate to displaced victims (ضحايا) and families of individuals that had perished during the Lebanon-Israel conflict in 2006.
She was born in Beirut, Lebanon on April 1,1968. She has family roots in Lebanon, Palestine and Armenia. Her father is originally from Lebanon, while her mother is from Palestine, with an Armenian background. At a very early age, Boutros’s musical talents (مواهب) and abilities (قدرات) began to shine. She sang in the school choir at a very early age and participated in different musical plays and performances. She was a student at the Rosary Sisters School, and always contributed to the school’s musical performances.
Not only was she influenced and inspired by the Rahbani Brothers, but also by another Rahbani musical prodigy and virtuoso (مبدع), son of the one of the Rahbani Brothers duo, Ziad Al Rahbani. The works and plays of Ziad Al Rahbani are well recognized and mainly provide critical narratives of the domestic problems in Lebanon and the Arab World. Stay tuned because in the near future, I am planning on introducing you to the works of Ziad Al Rahbani. When she was only 12 years old, Boutros recorded her first song entitled ‘A Maman’ (الى أمّي) at Elias Al Rahbani’s studios, the younger sibling of the Rahbani Brothers duo.
Boutros made use of her musical talents in criticizing the ineffectiveness of many leaders in the Arab World, while also pushing for Arab unity, patriotism and fervent nationalism. For example, three of her most famous songs, the first which she sang at the age of 17, ‘Ghabet Shams el Haq’ (غابة شمس الحقّ) and the latter two ‘Wein Al Malayeen’ (وين الملايين)and ‘Ana Bitnaffas Hourriyye’ (أنا بتنفّس حريّة) later in her career, focus on the grievances of impoverished people living in South Lebanon under Israeli occupation, the passiveness of many Arab leaders and nations to the dire situation in Palestine and the struggle for freedom from oppression respectively.
The majority of her songs focus on the hardships (مصاعب)of people in Lebanon and Palestine. Julia is not the only member of the Boutros family that is endowed with musical talents and abilities. In fact, her brother Ziad is also an accomplished musician and composer. Ziad has almost produced, composed and written all of Julia’s songs, specifically her patriotic ones. His musical touch (لمسة موسيقية) is most evident in his oriental twist and feeling in almost all of Julia’s popular tunes.
In 1996, Julia got married to the Vice President of the American University of Dubai. She had her first son Samer in 1997. She currently lives in Dubai and frequently performs and enchants the hearts of millions throughout the Arab World and beyond.
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