Reference Entry


Ali Jihad Racy

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print January 2001 |
Published online January 2001 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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[Ḥaddād, Nuhād]

(b Beirut, 1934). Lebanese singer. She was the eldest child of Liza Bustānī and Wadī‘ Ḥaddād, a print-shop technician who had moved to Beirut with his family from Ḍbayyah, a village in the Shūf area of central Lebanon. While at high school she was reportedly discovered by Muḥammad Fulayfil, a local composer who was interested in bringing young talent to Lebanon's newly established radio station. Ḥalīm al-Rūmī (d 1983), director of the music department at the station, was moved by her voice and introduced her to the aspiring young composer ‘Āṣī Raḥbānī (1923–86). Al-Rūmī is also credited with giving her the professional name Fayrūz (‘turquoise’). In 1954 she married ‘Āṣī Raḥbānī and thereafter became artistically associated with him and his brother, Manṣūr Raḥbānī (b 1925), two highly prolific and influential composers and lyricists.

In 1957 she was featured in a Raḥbānī musical play presented at the Baalbek International Festivals. Subsequently she starred in about two dozen similar plays with other well-known male counterparts such as Naṣrī Shams al-Dīn and, occasionally, Wadī‘ al-Ṣāfī. Between the late 1950s and the early 1970s she sang hundreds of widely admired songs composed by the Raḥbānīs, whose music included numerous adaptations of Lebanese traditional and popular tunes and incorporated elements from both Arab and European musical traditions. She also performed songs by other composers including the Lebanese Philemon (Filimūn) Wihbah, who wrote some of her best known songs, and the Egyptian Muḥammed Abdel-Wahab. In addition, she recorded hymns, acted in films and appeared in major theatres in the Arab world, Europe and the Americas. Fayrūz possessed an unusual voice with a veiled, velvety timbre combined with a certain head-voice quality, and this contributed to the distinctive and novel character of her songs. Addressing pan-Arab topics and sentiments in some of her songs, she became a celebrated singer, one of the most highly acclaimed artists of the Arab world....

Reference Entry.  383 words. 

Subjects: Contemporary Music

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