Intermission - Lebanese 80's Pop - Part II: Various Artists/ Albums From Lebanon.


Here's the second part of our Intermission, and it happens to also be Part-II of an
earlier post where two singers from Lebanon were featured (namely, Samir and Tony Hannah).

Today, we're about to discover more late-70's-early-80's Lebanese singers; some that even most Arabs know too little about or care to give a listen to in these days of the Saudi-owned 'Rotana' satellite mega-channel with its 'super-stars' shlagfest.

It's such a shame how these songs and singers were just lost in time to new ones that rose up singing their very songs, re-made directly from these and penned as their own!

One can see this happening today with Lebanese artists from Sabah to Issam Rajji. And, the list of new Lebanese singers (whether female or male), is growing rather stupendously into a fattened pop-explosion that really has no content and nary a soul to it. It's just bleh-blah.

So, let's remind ourselves here that music survives the time constraints and can live beyond the chronological boundaries of a certain year/years' quota with 8 Lebanese soloists who were 'it' back in the so-called 'Golden Days' (ذهبيات) of Lebanese pop music here at The Audiotopia. Enjoy the journey to Lebanon, babes!

Salwa Al-Katrib (سلوى قطريب - also spelled Salwa Atrib):

Salwa Al-Katreeb, circa 1973.
Lebanese female singer, and daughter of famous Lebanese oud-player Salibah Al-Katrib. She was born in 1950 in the city of Tripoli; a sea-side city on the Mediterranean eastern shore. She sang at some plays like Bint Al-Jabal ('Mountain Girl' alongside singer-actor Antoine Kerbaj), having managed to prove herself among the many female singer competitors since her induction at Lebanon T.V. in 1974. She made other T.V. appearances in popular serials like Oxygen, Al-Amirah Zumurd, Jasmine (with Lebanese singer Melhim Barakat), Super-Star, Hikayat Amal, Sanakif Sanakif (with Tony Hannah), etc... . Also, the secret behind her speedy success was her manager (and later... husband), Romeo Lahoud who gave her her first play role in the musical-play Al-Aneek, or 'The Handsome', and knew how to take her outside Lebanon to introduce her to the Arab world in the late 70's. She died at the age of 55 in 5th of March, 2005. One of her most popular and beautiful songs was remade by almost every other Lebanese singer; most recently Carol Smaha. She has a singer daughter, too (Elin Lahoud) who's famous in the Lebanese singing circles today.

Salwa Al-Katrib - سلوى القطريب.

Sammy Clark (سامي كلارك - also spelled Sami Klark):

Real name: Sami Houbaika. Was born in 23rd January, 1932 at a small village called Dhour Elshweir. Started singing English and French popular songs in the late 60's, and got famous with Mory Mory (A French song that Elias Rahbani has composed for him which he also sang in English). His repertoire amounts to well over 700 songs that vary from Christian religious chants, to kid's T.V. anime series songs. It's well known around the Arab world that there is not a kid who doesn't know his famous opening for the Treasure Island (Jazeerat El-Kanz) anime cartoon sung with his falsetto baritone! Such a voice! Sammy has even appeared after 20 years of absence to sing these kids' songs at Al-Hurra T.V. station in 2011. He's still living but has pancreatic cancer and is very ill.

Sammy Clark - سامي كلارك.

Issam Rajji (عصام رجي - also spelled Essam Raji):

Born in Kafr Shima, east Beirut in 1944. His acting career started way back in the early 60's with the musical Mawsim El-Izz (Pride Season, starring along with Samir Yezbeck) in 1960, and then the Rahbani brothers were behind most of his earliest tunes, giving him credit among the many singers of his generation. He also sang at the famous Baalbek City Music Festival and like Salwa Al-Katrib, manager Romeo Lahoud gave him his first musical debut at the play Faraman ('Order') written by playwright Nadia Twini. Rajji sang along with big stars like Sabah, and in 'sahras', or late-night T.V. parties, and starred in various musical plays like Meyjana with Samir Yazbeck and Joseph Azar (1974). He made a couple of fimls; Mawwal (1966), and Mesk We Anbar (1973), but that was all for his acting career. He died in 4th April, 2002.

Issam Rajji - عصام رجي.

Samir Yezbeck (سمير يزبك - also spelled Sameer Yazbak):

Born in 1933, in the mountainous village of Remhala in the Alyiyah district of Mount Lebanon, Samir also started just the same way as Rajji's with musicals and T.V. plays like Mawsim El-Izz which was written by the famous Lebanese singer-composer Zaki Naseef, and featured the ever-present Romeo Lahoud Troupe of dancers and singers like the famous Joseph Azar. Samir was known for singing side by side with great classical singers like Wadih Essafi: his grovel-like voice made it so easy to compare his singing to the masters. He had a very short film career starring in some 70's film like Assahafiyah Al-Hasna'a ('The Handsome Female Journalist'), but he didn't get big. His singing career was cut short by cancer and as of March 2012, he is still going under chemo-therapy at the A.U.B. (American University Of Beirut) hospital.

Samir Yezbeck - سمير يزبك.

Elie Choueri (إيلي شويري - also spelled Elie Shwayri):

Elie was born in Beirut in 27th of December, 1939. His singing career started in Kuwait Radio in 1960 then as part of the Al-Anwar Troupe which had among its members at that time singers such as Wadih Essafi and Zaki Naseef traveling to oil-rich countries for lucrative playing venues. As for almost all singers featured here, the Baalbek Music Festival manager Mr. Lahoud gave him a small role at one of his musicals (Ashallal 'The Waterfall' - 1963). Then came the Rahbanis. He acted in many of their plays with Fairuz singing (Al-Shakhs, 1968 - Nas Min Warak, 1972 - Al-Mahatta, 1973 - Mayes Ereem, 1975 etc...), and had a cameo in the Rahbani film Baya'a El-Khwataim ('The Rings' Seller'). Then in the late 70's, Samir met Sabah (he even acted with her in her musical play Sit El-Kil, 1974), and composed music for her, along with the famous female singer Dalidah Rahmeh (song 'Ya Balah Zaghlouli'), and wrote the music for the famous Ayyam El-LouLou song which Samira Tawfic has sung so magically. He's still living today.

Elie Choueri - إيلي شويري.

Samira Tawfic (سميرة توفيق - also spelled Sameera Tawfik):

Her real name is Samira Augustine Kreimeh. She was born in Armielah district (now known as Jemiezeh), in Beirut. She started singing at her early teen years in the famous Ajram Theatre for public gatherings and private parties (or, haflas) at the age of thirteen, then went to bigger open-stage ones like the Tanious Theatre in which she sang classicals by Layla Murad. Her family accompanied her in her travels through Lebanon and was known collectively as 'The Sixth-Fleet'! The real fame and fortune came from her stay in Jordan where she was invited to sing for Jordan Radio in the early 60's in her famous Badawi (bedouin) style that suits most Jordanians' tastes. She sang for many composers like Filmon Wehbi, and Tawfiq El-Belouni (that's where the second part of her name came from). And, once sang in front of Queen Elizabeth II at the Melbourne Opera House in the 70's alongside Wadih Essafi. Many famous tabla players like Setrak Serkissian had played for her, with other darbouka masters like Mohammed El-Barjawi. Her music was known as 'Tabla Fakhar' (pottery-made tabla) music, using the real non-plastic darboukas that made such a thumping sound. She starred in many films most notably A Bedouin Girl In Paris (1965), plus some few T.V. serials in the seventies. She still lives in Sweden today visiting Lebanon and Jordan from time to time.

Samira Tawfic - سميرة توفيق.

Firyal Karim (فريال كريم - also spelled Ferial Kareem):

This Lebanese singer was born in 16th of April, 1938 and has the earliest start among all of the featured singers here acting in an a couple of Egyptian films (Sikat Essalamah - 1944. Shahr El-Assal, 1945) before she even finished her seventh year. She was very much loved around Cairo, and got herself a very good Egyptian actor-friends' base with famous film comedy stars like comedian Abdel-Salam Al-Nabulsi through acting together with them on film or on stage as a monologist doing stand-up comedy stints which she continued to do in Lebanon and became famous for. She starred in the Syrian T.V.-produced serial Umm Khbar, directed by the famous Syrian T.V. director Mohammmed El-Shamel, who gave her another role as Zumurrud in the 60's serial Eddinyeh Heik ('That's Life'). She has other endless T.V. appearances in many a T.V. serials like Al-Abwab Assaba'a ('The Seven Doors'), El-Mallionaire ('The Millionaire'), Insa Hmoumak ('Forget Your Worries'), etc. Firyal was nicknamed "Lebanon's Smile" for her funny acting roles and was loved by every Lebanese and Arab alike. She died in 4th of July, 1988. She has a daughter who's also a film actress (Muna Karim).

Firyal Karim - فريال كريم.

Azar Habib (عازر حبيب - also spelled 3zar 7abib):

Azar was born in 28th of November, 1945 in the small 'daia'ah' village of Al-Housh at the Rashia District. Then he moved with his family four years later to stay at the capital Beirut. He was a dentist by profession and education, but turned the buzzing trade's tools to that of another buzzing one: the bouzouki; a saz-like three-stringed instrument famous around the Mid-Rim region. His early starts were with a small pop band (Los Diabolos, then Los Cavalerios) playing acoustic guitar. His songs and albums were just marvelous, romantic sweet renditions of east-meets-west tunes sung in his famous cantor voice. Azar's songs are still listened to by many Arabs until this very day. He died aged 62 in October, 2007. Azar was and still is my favourite Lebanese singer of all time. And, to be honest, his voice is such a warm welcome change whenever I want to kick it off knocking-cool, or just feel some human warmth and happiness carried in a voice like his: so enchanting, beautiful, and true.


Azar Habib - عازار حبيب.

Don't miss the next post, aite? It's going to be the best ever Lebanese golden-hits compilation that has ever graced any page on the net (or, off of it). There you'd find and meet for the first time many artists, bands, unknown singers, etc... right from the late 60's till the late 80's! And the tote is going to up around 500 songs! Whews!

Lebanese 80's Mega-Collection: Comin' soon at the next Intermission.

Dig dawgs!


1 comment:

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