3/11/2012

Fahd Ballan: The Arabic Tom Jones? - فهد بلان.


As for now, we're taking a bus-ride from Jordan to Syria...

Fahd Ballan (the man that we've mentioned in the previous post), is one helluva man in all seriousness. This Syrian singer-actor had a very distinctive singing style bordering sometimes at yodeling, mixed so heavily with his body and arm movements, and above all his very weird facial expressions and googly-eyes as he tried to roll each eye with every word he's singing (or, vise versa), making his voice the most-notable instrument, drowning an Arabic 30-plus strong orchestra in the process as his pan-sized eyes and his extra-large maw led the show! Yes! He was something else.
(This calls for a 'Yoube link as I am sure words can do Ballan no justice when it comes to describing his facial expressions). Ogle this one tunestalgia on YouTubia:

video
و أشرح لها عن حالتي - فهد بلان

He was nicknamed 'Manhood's Singer' at the Syrian music-show 'Alwan' ('Colours'), by the Syrian boob-tube meister Najib Henkish. Very much the Arabic answer to Tom Jones, he has the similar, 70's dressing order with puffed-out butterfly shirt-collars, corduroy smoking jackets, velvety pants that shone like a thousand stars... what can I say? Unlike Tom Jones, he didn't get frillie underwear and a ton and a half of smelly bras thrown at him. Still, he was a macho-man nonetheless: he married Lebanese singer Sabah *wink wink nudge nudge*.

For over 40 years, his singing career (plus, a very healthy acting one), developed into a charismatic level unseen else where at that time; especially in Jordan which gave him T.V.-stardom in the Jordan T.V. studios back in the early 70's.

Born in 1933, Fahd Hmoud Ballan (also spelled Fahad/ Fahid Bellane), was raised to hard-working labour in the southern part of Syria called Suyiedah. This provincial agricultural part of Syria is the birth-place of all Arab musical genres. The Arabic world learned how to 'debka'; sing 'zajal', shout 'atabah', and basically sing and dance every other style of popular music bearing the clear mark of Sahl Houran: the large area that covers southern Syria and north Jordan.

On-stage in the 80's. Jordan.
Ballan was just the natural singer: his voice so sonorous and earthy like the land from which he came: a vast, open land full of green pastures. It has its own echo-effect, as he played with his tongue and basically, every part of his mandibles to create a very self-distinctive voice that even Umm-Kalthoum herself has said once that it was, "a new voice, nothing's like his voice in the Arab world". She's right to a sinning point. He was all his own league and many performers and comedians tried to mock his voice at their stand-up acts just for hearty giggles and laughs.

His early starts: Ballan was discovered as a musical talent in a singing competition that he won and led him to the bright-light/ big-city of Damascus to start a singing career in his early 20s as part of Syrian Radio orchestral chorus in 1957.  
With Baligh Hamdy, Cairo circa late 60's.
After few years and in 1964, he left Damascus for the bigger-lights/ brighter-city of Cairo, and met Farid Al-Atrache, and the Egyptian musical genius Baligh Hamdy who gave him two or three of his own tunes to sing which means Ballan's got it all in the can.


In 1997, Fahd Ballan died of a brain hemorrhage leaving his legacy and sweet-funny stage antics that were much-loved by my late father whose most favourite song by him was 'Wash'rah Laha' ('I Shall Explain to Her') which you can watch on the vid-link above and DL from the album-link below.

The Middle-east's macho-est man!
You can almost see him winking...
if you stare long enough!


The tracks inclusive 'ere are some of his best-known songs.

Track-list:
1-
A'aleehum Alah (God Woe Them).
2- Alfein Salam (Two-thousand Hellos).
3- Ana Sayyaad (I'm A Hunter).
4- Bent El-Arab (The Arabian Girl).
5- Eioun El-Najrjis (Iris-Eyes).
6- Enta We Ana (You And Me).
7- Karim Allah (God's Gives).
8- Kif Baddi A'aysh (How Am I Supposed to Live?).
9- Mal We Ihtajab (Went And Disappeared).
10- Qalat (She Said).
11- Wash'rah Laha (I Shall Explain to Her).
12- Ya Banat Al-Mukalah (Oh Girls of Mukalah*).
13- Ya Bint El-A'am (My Niece).
14- Ya Ein La Tedme'ai (Oh My Eye Don't Cry).
15- Ya Emdalaani (You Who Are Spoiled).
16- Ya Hamam Eddouh (O'Doves of The Garden).
17- Ya Haz Min Yehwak (Lucky Are Those Who Love You).
18- Ya Sahira'l Aynien (You With The Magic Eyes).
19- Ya Salimah (Oh Salimah).
20- Yesaed Masaha (May Your Evening be Happy).

*Al-Mukalah: 'a port city in Yemen'.


Funny, yet really sweet: that's music, that's life.

Dig'em!


H.H.

2 comments:

LolaRadio said...

have a rcord from Fahd and i always thought he was from Lebanon, but thanks to your wel-informed blog i know better now. Since your (and other) blogs is also a sort of monument for this music, wouldn't you consider oploading in a 320 bitrate? Thanks for the music! Gerrit

Hammer said...

@LolaRadio:
I will soon.

Enjoy the more to come.

H.H.