Mohammed Jamal & Taroub - Jamaltaroub: The Arab Sonny & Cher? - محـمد جمـال و طــروب.

Dearest bloggers:
Having fun with all the music uploaded at The Audiotopia so far? I'm gettin' a lot of good feedback mostly from Arab fellow frans, so I guess it's all gravy in the garden. One fellow Arab blogger-user I received a soul-crushing email from two days aborning (a Lebanese guy who lives in Saudi Arabia), asked me to write something about Mohammed Jamal: the Lebanese 80's pop singer that was featured here.

That Lebanese guy was so chuffed
it seems, when he saw (and prolly, listened to), Jamal's song Meeli Ma Mal El-Hawa. After seeing his picture he says that he thought the post was, "an invitation for another post specifically made for Mohammed." Well, Jamal's one of my favourite Leb-Pop singers no question 'bout that, and it happens that he's also another Syrian-Lebanese singer's husband: Taroub.
This correlation struck me as another, on-the-run 'pop-post-op', and so I hauled ass back to blogtown promising to give him something as soon as I 'ave the 'nuff time. I spent all of lasterday researching further on this singing 'married' duo famous way back in the 60's and early 70's pretty much like Sonny & Cher were, until they broke up after bad blood ran between them two.

So, yessir: here it is... the story of the Arab world's best duo right 'ere on the Audiotopia. Hope you like it.

Mohammed Jamal & Taroub - محمد جمال و المغنية طروب:
(Among the many spelling variations are Mohamed Gammal & Taroob)

Mohammed Jamal and his wife Syrian singer Taroub, 1965.
Beirut in the 60's.
Mohammed Jamal was born in 11ᵗʰ October, 1934 in the coastal Mediterranean town of Tripoli (his real name was Jamal Eddien Toufaha, later known as 'Mohammed Khan'). Jamal's family moved to Beirut when he was a kid where he sang at one of its primary schools some typical, national Lebanese songs, until he learned how to play the oud when his father decided to buy him one and taught him how to play it. His mother was a Greek-Muslim from Crete island whose family immigrated to Lebanon at the starts of the 20ᵗʰ century which add up to his unique oral-aura.

Mohammed Jamal singing in the 50's.
It's also rumoured that his father (or, family for that matter), came originally from Nablus, Palestine or, erm Haifa? Anyways, this has a bit of truth sounding to it: a lot of 50's Arab pop singers hid their true identities and/or original nationalities if they happened to come from the occupied land of Palestine because of hmm, dunno some prestige issues. Most notably among those was Egyptian singer Shadia who's Palestinian but always insisted at being a full-bloodied Egyptian.

 One of the earliest couple pictures, early 60's.

Taroub (real name: Amal Ismael Sarkiss) was born on the first of June, 1938. Some say that she was born in 1937, while others take it all the way four years later to 1941 which isn't true. Just like Jamal, Taroub wasn't 100% Lebanese herself: her mother was Turkish some argue, and her family descended from Sarkissian immigrants who came to Syria escaping the wars that were ablaze in their countries in the early 1800s. Her mother (Khaleda Zadeh, nicknamed as most Arab mothers by her first son's name as Umm-Zuheir), was an already-established musician who played the oud quite well. Her older daughter was discovered by Al-Nasr Cinema Theatre's manager Abdel-Hadi Bakkar in the early 50's where her mother took her to audition. Syrian radio manager Adel Abu-Shanab invited her to join the Radio Damascus choral group in 1955, along with composer Nimr Karaki (who was a Jordanian) a year later to sing there, officially.
Taroub rehearsing with a music group in Cairo, 60's.
Jamal Abd El-Naser.
The first music career steps for young Jamal on the other hand started way back in 1954 (a year earlier than his wifey), before leaving to Cairo, Egypt in 1956. The ageless city and capital of Egypt was the go-to 'golden' hub known for its healthy, lucrative film industry which attracted many a young hopeful Arab pop singer; especially Lebanese 'handsome' ones who sang in weak Egyptian accents popular film tunes in the mid-50s. Taroub went there to Cairo by way of a communist culture-exchange between Syria and Egypt when those two Arab nations united in February, 1958 to form one bigger 'dream' country called the United Arab Republic (الجمهوريةالعربية المتحدة), led by Egyptian president Jamal Abd El-Naser.

The 'Dark Nightingale' Halim.
There fellow Lebanese and future hubster met with Taroub who was quickly forming a small circle of fans around her with her photogenic looks, and coquettish, flirtatious behaviour that later caused the couple their 15-year marriage. Taroub had numerous, random love affairs here and there with almost every Egyptian singer from Farid Al-Atrache (4 years, breaking up with him after he proposed to her which she later regretted in an interview), to Abdel-Halim Hafez (rumoured to having been a secretly married couple in the early 60's after meeting on the terrace of Saint George's hotel, Beirut but this is also not true as Hafez was known as a perma-bachelor till his penultimate death in 30ᵗʰ March, 1977).
Abdel-Halim Hafez and Taroub in the mid-60's.
Jamal and Taroub both met by mere chance and formed a singing duo after falling together in love and mutual interests, calling their selves "Jamaltaroub" (Jamal Al-Taroub). Soon, their first (and most popular onstage) song that they shared together (Tell Me More, or 'Koul Kaman' - قول كمان) was a hit in 1957. The love birds struck instant fame, getting called to sing at the prestigous Haflat Adawa' Al-Madinah theatres (حفلات أضواء المدينة) in Cairo as a 'duet' couple in 1963 and went from that point to try their luck acting in the Egyptian-Lebanese film 'Al-Armalah A'Ttaroub' (الأرملة الطروب- 'The Merry Widower'), later in the same year.

With Egyptian actors in mid-60's.
Jamal singing in late 60's.
This famous singing-acting duo lived from 1957-1964 until they got divorced. It's said that Jamal's jealousy of his wife's male fans didn't just compromise his manhood but his career, too. Arab males can be over-emotional fuckups sometimes bordering on the neurotic, quite true, add to this the fact that Taroub depended so much on him that she had no choice to divorce because he wrote most of her songs. Even when they finally went separate ways in 1964, he sent her three last songs (namely; Shouk Bahibak, Ya Sababeen El-Shai, and Al-Kournish which she took to Farid Al-Atrache to remake), as a farewell gesture. Still, Taroub's nonchalance with her hubster's heart and her 'triangular acts' were a bit too much to turn a blind eye on. Not an ear, of course, as her voice took her farther than Jamal's who for 15 years tried to keep this union tight, but jus' like the United Arab Nation it didn't last. He married another Syrian woman (Tijan) and had two sons from her: John and Taj. He leads a happy life in L.A., California regardless of news of his death as a successful businessman and sings classical Lebanese songs on various occasions.
The Separation: one singing in an Egyptian 50's film.
The other talking in an interview in the late 60's.
The flirtatious Taroub, 60's.

Their Music:
Jamal singing a clip on T.V..
Jamal in the 60's.
Taroub & Mohammed Jamal's songs took a firm reference from Greek, Turkish, Spanish, Anglo-French, and Russian influences. Jamal wrote music for many Arab singers like Sabah, Najah Sallam, Widad, and Syrian singer Marwan Housam in addition to writing almost all songs for Lebanese poet Michael Ta'meh (ميشيل طعمة). Jamal also wrote some music for the late 70's popular kids' show Sesame Street (called in the Arab region Iftah Ya Simsim, or Open Sesame - إفتح يا سمسم) which was popular in the 70's and 80's all over the Arab world.
Jamal at his early starts.
Young Taroub.
Most of his songs were based on old Lebanese mawaweel (مواويل - lengthy interpretative verses sung in a slow rhythm), a'taba (عتابا), debke beats and some of his songs were purely western in style having electric guitars added, plus the ever-present Farfisa organ, early electronic drum-machines, and other western musical instruments mixing two separate worlds together just like his life was all about being separated from his beloved country Lebanon and those expatriation years he had to live in Egypt, Jordan, and later on in the U.S., were heard most audibly in his song El-Matarat - المطارات('The Airports') in which he sang about how hard those departure and meet-'n'-greet moments were on him. Ah, even his beloved and beautiful wife Taroub left him at the height of his career to follow her seemingly-rising stardom in Cairo which was cut short by the 1973 October War with Israel. She wrote some music for herself and on wrote her own like the famous song 'Ya Hallak A'mali Ghoura' (Hey Barber, Do My Hair In A Bang: the barber in question was Sarkiss Damarijian from Jerusalem). She's pretty much musically-talented herself coming from a music-playing family like hers.

Jamal in El-Kol Yehib a 1973 film.
Nevertheless, after their divorce, Jamal started singing again without her just like when he began his career, and soon he joined forces with the best Lebanese composers and star-makers like The Rahbani Brothers. His best songs are those which he sang in the 80's some of which were composed by Elias Rahbani (e.g. Kina Ana We Inti 'Nitmasha A'a'Tiraat - كنا أنا واني نتمشا عالطرقات). He acted in many T.V. series starting from 1966 till the mid-80's (Ya Liel Ya Ein - يا ليل يا عين, Kasr Al-Hambra - قصر الحمرا, Milh We Sukkar - ملح و سكر - 'Salt And Pepper'), and was featured at many Musical shows like the popular, Lebanese T.V. show Sa'a We Ghiniyeh (ساعة و غنية - 'An Hour And A Song') in 1980.
Nihad Qhala'e & Duraid 'Ghawwar' Llaham.
As for cinema... there is a huge list of old, 70's movies that the couple have made together, or each on his/her own. Most of their films were at first made with average budgets around Syria, Lebanon, and the Kingdom of Jordan during the late 60's and early 70's. The duo joined the Arab-world famous comedian duo Ghawwar Ettoushe and Nihad Qhala'e ( غوار الطوشة و نهاد قلعي - right) in some of their films such as Gawwar: A Football Player, etc. Taroub acted with 'Ghawwar' or as he's known as Duraid Llaham (real name: Carlos), who nearly had at least one film done with each and every female star back in the height of obscenely simplly-made cheapo B-movies mostly revolving around some sexual adventure, or some moneyed people who marry the poor in a badly written, chintzy Cinderella story that film writers used as a mainstay tactic to 'entertain' the 'poor', dreamy audience.
Actress Sou'ad Housni.
The duo also appeared in many Lebanese-Egyptian films in the late 60's, until the mid-70's when the Civil War brought down the Lebanese empire of movie-making still trying to place itself in a more cosmopolitan content, with the only alternatives available for the duo being nearby Egypt, Turkey, and Greece. Taroub herself made some movies with a handful of then-stars of the burgeoning Turkish cinema; known for its over-sexed scenes and emotional music-score, but before that she starred alongside other Lebanese movie stars like Sabah (صـباح) herself (film: Issabit Al-Nisa'a - Women's Gang), and Egyptian ones like Nelli (نيللي) who starred also with Jamal, sex-pot Soua'd Housni (سـعاد حسني), and the always-nude Nahid Cherif (ناهد شريف).
Mohammed Jamal singing Kassim Sharae' Baladi
with Nelli in the 70's film 
Sharaweel Wa Mini-Joub.
Their film career was very healthy being a very handsome young couple: him a good-looking young man with his dewy, green eyes... her with her sexy locks and very sweet camaraderie. They ended up starring in many Lebanese and Syrian sexploitation 60's-70's films with the lead roles given to Egyptian actors and actresses or having a co-starring cameo beside one or more attractive 'Gyppywood' starlets. Watch some of these films:
H-3 (هـ-3), Nis'a Li-Shita'a (نساء للشتاء - Women for Winter '74), Sharaweel Wa Mini-Joub (شراويل و ميني جب - Old Pants And Short Skirts '72), Gharam Al-Mouharij (غرام المهرج - Clown's Love '75), Mouhima Rasmiya (
مهمة رسمية - The Mission '75), El-Kol Yehib (الكـل يحـب - Let's Love).
Posters (L-R) El-Koul Yehib, Nis'a Li-Shita'a, هـ-3.
When the Lebanon-Israel War erupted in the early 80's both now-divorced singers left Lebanon and immigrated to the United States, ultimately. Settling finally in L.A., Mohammed Jamal opened a felafel restaurant calling it 'Byblos' (the old name for Jubyl, Lebanon), and sang in it daily. In 1986, he opened another Arabic food Lebanese restaurant naming it 'Barada' which is a river in Syria in remembrance of his wife, continuing his life's passion and art, singing for the Aramerican-Lebanese expatriate community and those who came to listen in from Canada and nearby Mexico. Later, between the end of 1993 and 1994 he went back to Beirut to sing at some parties there. He sang live in many different countries like Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Britain, the U.S., Canada, Argentine, and Australia.

Mohammed Jamal in a T.V. interview.
His wife Taroub left for Cairo in the mid-80's after failing to make a huge success (competition was very strong from also-rising Egyptian pop singers like Fadhila Shakr, etc...), and after selling all her belongings she finally settled in the leafy-suburban Ma'adi district in Cairo. A few years later and in the late 90's, she surprised everyone by taking up the Islamic head-dress 'hijab', vowing off singing alltogether in 2003. She stopped singing now and only went back to Beirut for a glaucoma operation to her eyes in the year 2009.

Jamal and his ex-wife Taroub:
sitting again side by side.
The couple met once again in the Lebanese T.V. show Il-Maestro in September, 2009 where Lebanese singer Eileen Khalaf sang their most famous song Badee Shoufak Kil Yaoum (Ya Habibi), and at the end of the show both of them received complimentary honours the same as Salwa Al-Katrib and Samir Yezbeck before them had on the same T.V. show. Syrian pop singer Wael Jassar also remade one of their songs live on television and it became a huge hit with everyone around the Levant area where I live (song: 'Badee Shoufak Kil Yaoum' - I Want to See You Everyday which starts the Mohammed Jamal's Compilation that you can DL from the links provided below).

There is still a place for hope and love in war-torn Lebanon, and these expat singers are coming back again to settle in their original homes and live the rest of their days in peace away from the chagrin that is ten-a-dime common in western society.

As for me, Hammer: well... I want to listen to this wonderful duo every damn day! 

Farid Al-Atrache - فريد الأطرش.
Enjoy some of their best songs that I have managed to upload in record time here. You will get yerself two comps by Mohammed Jamal, and one by Taroub. Plus, a single (A'al Kournish) which was composed by oud God ('Goud', anyone?) Farid Al-Atrache (فـريد الأطـرش).


Taroub - طــــــــــــروب.
Mohammed Jamal - محــمد جــمــال.
Bonus uploads are some early-to-late-70's albums by Taroub for you to enjoy. Create some noise around with these, babes and babettes. Ohlrighty-oh?

Coo', coo'. Now dig.

Bonus Albums/ 'Taroubyat' - طروبيات:
Taroub - Jod Alaia Be'Nazra - (Just Give Me One Look) طروب - جود علي بنظرة.
Taroub - Rah El-Ta'ab - (All Trouble's Gone)  طروب - راح التعب.
Taroub - Soukkar - (Sugar) طروب - سكر.
Taroub - Aktoublak -(I Write To You) طروب - أكتبلك.

The more you listen to their songs, the more you'd realise this as a fact: that, yeah you can't get enough of their music. They were one of the best (and the first) duoes breaking into brave new pop sounds in the Arab world and they successfully shook the local casinos and night-club scenes in both Beirut, Lebanon and across the Arab region and changed many things around the Middle-East... forever.

As usual, yer gonna get yerselves a bonus Single album of A'al-Khournish ('A Walk On The Sea Promenade') as promised.

Taroub - A'al Khournish
طروب - عالكورنيش
Voice of Lebanon (VL 131 Single - 1974).

Special Extra Post:
Taroub's sister was a well-known ye-ye Syrian singer (Mayada - ميادة) who became famous, singing English-French language pop songs in the late 50's and early 60's. Their mother wasn't actually Sirkassian-Lebanese. Rather, she was Jordanian-Sirkassian (شركسيةأردنية). Their grandmother (on the side of their father) was Turkish and not their mother as most do think she was. They all moved to Amman, Jordan and stayed for 8 years during the Lebanese Civil-War.
BrotherPhone Single Ya.. Ya.. Ya.. (BP 145) - 1964.
(Mayada - ميادة).
Mayada is fully Jordanian unlike her older sister Taroub who got the Lebanese nationality by marrying Mohammed Jamal. Mayada who still has herself the Jordanian nationality lives now in Scotland. She stayed there permanently after marrying her second husband who's British, (Richard Fief, turned a Muslim). They both have a son named Hussein. Sadly, Mayada had to quit so early on in her career because she stayed with her father in Jordan (which always had mediocre artistic prospects) while Taroub went to live with her mother after she got divorced back to Lebanon.
Many Thanks to Yazeed; the blog owner
of Yazeed.net for this image of 'Taroubyat'.
Taroub vs. Mayada:
Taroub was maybe... the true, rising child prodigy star winning the famous music talent T.V. show Alwan (ألوان - Colours:
Radio Damascus started airing it in the 40's) in the early 60's but it was Mayada who had a more cutting-edge progressive pop sound varying from chacha, to groovy Arabeat. Her songs were more 'Internationally-inclined' than Taroub's which could have given her a solid ground for stardom and not just winning a child's singing contest. You will find some songs so rare here sung by Mayada and I really do wish you all would enjoy these sounds and the more to come right here awnly awn...
The Audiotopia.
Jacqeuline's Single (Rafiqh Houbeikah).
Similar Artists (Mayada-soundalikes):
Jacqueline (جـاكلين), Randa (رانـدا), Mishka (مـيشكـا), Majdala (مـاجدالا).

Mayada's Single - Front and Back Cover.
 'Telefounak Mashghoul' -
Your Telephone's Busy.

'Haik Haik Temshi El-Helwe' -
This Is How The Pretty Girl Walks.

'Sheft El-Outta' -
I Saw The Cat.

Diggity dig!




Anonymous said...

hello, is it possible to show the track list for mohammed jamal's album best of, not alphabetically

Hammer said...

Sure. The Spelling might be a bittle diff 'ere. Dig.

1.) Kina Ana We Inti.
2.) Ma E'indi Mal (E'ndi Hal Alb).
3.) Kassim Sharqi Baladi.
4.) Ya Jammal.
5.) Ah Ya Umm-Hamadah.
6.) Mazzika Ya Mazzika.
7.) Meeli Ma Mal El-Hawa.
8.) Badee Shoufak Kil Yaoum.
9.) A'alawwi, Ya A'alawwi.
10.) Kinna Ana We Inti Niotmasaha A'ateraat.
11.) El-Dinya Houb.
12.) Hamaltakk Salami.
13.) La, Louli, La La.
14.) Re'hti, Re'hti.
15.) El-Matarat.
16.) Hal Layle.
17.) A'Droub El-Hawa.
18.) Yes'edli Sabahou.
19.) Seyartou Akbar.
20.) Inti Wel-Raks.

Have fun, Anon.