Neighbor to the Moon, Ambassador to the Stars, the legend of today is yesterday’s shy little village girl. The superstar acclaimed by millions as magical, brilliant, and angelic is our one and only Fairuz.

Born and raised in Lebanon, Fairuz began her musical career as a teenager. From chorus girl at the Lebanese radio station in the late 1940s, to critical and popular acclaim from the 1950’s to today, Fairuz is acknowledged not only for her musical talent and contribution, but also as a cultural and political icon. A symbol of a people, a heritage, a quest for peace, and of humanity.

During most of her career, Fairuz reflected two other great artists, Assi and Mansour Rahbani. They wrote the lyrics and composed her tunes. Today, many of her songs reflect the composing talent of Ziad Rahbani who is Fairuz’s son. Her songs testify to the Rahbani musical genius, as well as to Fairuz’s broad musical background. As Dr. J. Racy says, “More than just a singer’s name, Fairuz is a concept whose connotations are ethnic and nationalistic, as well as musical and poetic.” Referred to as “The Soul of Lebanon” in the 70’s, Fairuz became a pre-eminent figure, a superstar of current music in the Arab world. Together, the Rahbani family is both a school of music and a cultural phenomenon.

For the girl who loved to sing to her friends and neighbors in the little village, it was an overwhelming experience when, in 1957, Lebanon’s President Chamoun presented Fairuz with the “Cavalier”, the highest medal ever conferred on a Lebanese Artist. In 1969 a memorial Lebanese stamp was issued in her name. Meeting royalty, once an experience she had expected to encounter only in the fairy tales of her childhood, has become a reality for her. She is routinely welcomed, greeted, received, and honored by today’s world leaders. In 1963, King Hussein of Jordan presented her with the Medal of Honor, followed by his Majesty’s Gold Medal in 1975. In Brazil, the crowds attempted to carry her with her limousine. In 1981, while touring in the U.S., Senators, Governors and Mayors of various cities honored her. A Harvard University scholar, Barry Hoberman, even wrote: “Quite simply, Fairuz is one of the world’s nonpareil musicians and outstanding Artists, an international treasure of the order of Rostropovich, Sills, Ravi Shankar, Miles Davis, Sutherland, Pavarotti and Dylan.”

Her record-breaking concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in London made headlines worldwide. The Daily Mail wrote: “The box office was besieged as never before. Tickets changed hands at more than 1,000 Pounds on the black market. Takings reached a record, breaking the previous best when Frank Sinatra was in town. And who was the star that packed them in last night? Madonna? Springsteen? Domingo? Horowitz? No … FAIRUZ, the top female singer in the Arab world”. Fairuz has headlined at the most prestigious venues in the world including the Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Salle Pleyel, among many others.


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Olivier Gluzman


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