Music of Lebanon


Music of Lebanon

The Music of Lebanon has a long history. Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, has long been known, especially in a period immediately following World War II, for its art and intellectualism. Several singers emerged in this period, among the most famous Fairuz, Sabah, Wadih El Safi,Salwa Katrib, Majida El Roumi, Nasri Shamseddine, Ahmad Kaabour, and Marcel Khalife, an activist folk singer and oud player. During the fifteen-year civil war, most of the Lebanese music stars moved to Cairo or Paris, with a large music scene in Beirut only returning after 1992. Modern stars include Najwa Karam, Diana Haddad, Nawal Al Zoghbi, Haifa Wehbe, Elissa, Ragheb Alama, Walid Toufic, Wael Kfoury, Fares Karam, Amal Hijazi, Nancy Ajram, Melhem Zein, Fadel Shaker, The 4 Cats, Assi El Helani and Moniem who is well known for his extraordinary talent in playing the oud, cello, guitar, qanoon, buzaq. He also writes lyrics, composes music and sings in many languages including English.

The underground music scene is equally vibrant, spearheaded by the rock-pop duo Soap Kills, but expanding to include a number of groups from a wide array of genres. Underground Arab hip hop groups, such as the Rayess Bek are growing in popularity. Other Rock and Alternative Rock bands like Meen, The Kordz and Mashrou' Leila are also getting popular. The annual Fête de la Musique, held in late June, brings the whole country out for organized and spontaneous underground concerts. word which comes from the Spanish laud, which came from the Arabic word for the instrument, al-ud (meaning the branch of a tree). The lute is shaped like a half pear with a short fretted neck. It has a six courses of two strings and played with a plectrum, usually a trimmed eagle’s feather. This instrument creates a deep and mellow sound.

The mijwiz which literally means “double” in Arabic is a very popular instrument used in Lebanese music. It is a type of reed clarinet. It is played by breathing smoothly through a circular aperture at the end and by moving the fingers over the holes down the front of the tube in order to create the different notes. The minjjayrah is similar to the mijwiz, an open ended reed flute played in the same style. It is very popular among mountain villagers of Lebanon.

The tablah is a small hand-drum also known as the durbakke. Most tablahs are beautifully decorated, some with wood, tile or bone inlay, etched metal, or paintings in designs typical of the Near East. One of the most commonly played of the percussion instruments, the tablah is a membranophone of goat or fish skin stretched over a vase-shaped drum with a wide neck. Usually made of earthenware or metal, it is placed either under the left arm or between the legs and struck in the middle for the strong beats and on the edge for the sharp in-between beats.

The daff, also known as the rikk, is a popular instrument corresponding to the tambourine. It consists of a round frame, covered on one side with goat or fish skin. Pairs of metal discs are set into the frame to produce the jingle when struck by the hand. The sounds of this percussion instrument set the rhythm of much Arab music, particularly in the performances of classical pieces.

The word buzaq comes from the Turkish and occurs in bashi-buzuq, the name given to the Ottoman troops, literally meaning "burnt head" or "uprooted." The buzuq, which is an essential instrument in the Rahbani repertoire, is a hybrid instrument that is not classified among the classical instruments of Arab music or among those of Turkish music. However, this instrument may be looked upon as a larger and deeper-toned relative of the Turkish saz, to which it could be compared in the same way as the viola is to the violin in Western music. Before the Rahbanis popularized the use of this instrument, the buzaq had been associated with the gypsy music of Lebanon. A long-necked fretted string instrument, the buzuq is furnished with two metal strings which are played with a plectrum.The famous lebanese composers are : Zaki Nassif,Philemon Wehbe, The Rahbani Brothers,Romeo Lahoud,Walid Gholmieh,Boghos Gelalian.

Shakira's father is Lebanese.

Lebanese dialect singers

Lebanese singers sing in either the Lebanese or the Egyptian dialect. Lebanese artists are very distinctive due to their Lebanese dialect. Fairuz sparks Lebanese national pride with her songs such as Behhbak ya Lebnan (I love you, Lebanon) and Ya Hawa Beirut. Another famous Lebanese singer known for her powerful voice is Najwa Karam. While other Lebanese singers have followed the trend of the more fast-paced Egyptian dialect music (due to the wide popularity of the Egyptian dialect-speaking music within the Arabic-speaking world), a few singers, such as Fairuz and Najwa, have stayed grounded with their traditional Lebanese dialect.

References

  • Badley, Bill and Zein al Jundi. "Europe Meets Asia". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 391-395. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0

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