The Ministry of Information and the Syrian Artists Syndicate announced the death of the great Syrian singer Sabah Fakhri at the age of 88.
His upbringing and early career
Sabah Fakhri was born in the city of Aleppo on May 2, 1933. As a teenager, he met Fakhri Al-Baroudi, founder of the Oriental Institute in Damascus. Al-Baroudi admired his voice and urged him to develop his talent academically, and later granted him the title of Sabah Fakhri, being his spiritual father. He had a role in discouraging him from leaving Syria for Italy at that point.
Sabah Fakhri studied at the Academy of Arab Music in Aleppo and Damascus. He graduated from the Oriental Music Institute in 1948. He also completed the study of muwashahat, rhythms, Samah dance, poems, roles, solfege, and playing the oud, at the hands of art sheikhs such as Sheikh Ali Darwish and Majdi Al-Aqili.
Sabah Fakhri left a rich artistic
legacy for the Arab world, including Muwashahat, Maqamat and Qudoud Halabiya, and was distinguished by his unique voice and performance on stage.
Sabah Abu Qos, which is the real name of Sabah Fakhri, lived with many stars of Arab singing and art, and alongside his concerts in most Arab countries, he performed many musical evenings around the world, leaving a rich and original artistic legacy throughout his career that exceeded half a century.
His first concert was in 1948, at the presidential palace in Damascus during the time of President Shukri al-Quwatli.
The artist Fakhri began singing on Radio Damascus in 1948, where he was famous for his melodious voice and his singing of the authentic tarab color.
With the inauguration of Syrian Arab Television in 1960, Fakhri was among the artists who revived television concerts, which contributed to the spread of his reputation,
Sabah Fakhri held many titles during his career that exceeded seven decades, such as Prince of Tarab, Sultan of Tarab, Nightingale, Crown, King of Tarab and Original Art, and Bulbul of the East.
his life and his family
The artist Sabah Fakhri married twice, his first wife bore him three sons, Muhammad, Omar and Tarif, and his wife later died, and his second wife bore him one son, singer Anas Sabah Fakhri.
Sabah Fakhri’s father was a reciter of the Holy Qur’an and a Sufi chanter, while his mother was from a religious family who conducted Sufi circles.
At the “Quranic School” in Aleppo, he learned the foundations and principles of language, rhetoric and intonation before he was 15 years old. He used to call the call to prayer in the Rawda mosque when he was young. Then he began to sing at mawlids and funerals, especially as he was a memorizer of the Qur’an.
He performed the first mawal in his life at the same stage, a mawwal, “Tweet, Bulbul, and amuse people with your tweets.” One of his mother’s friends taught him, he loved it, and his sessions were repeated with his mother’s friends, and he learned from them what they were singing. Then he met the late Syrian oud player and composer, Muhammad Rajab, who taught him the first muwashshah, “Ya Hilal Ghab”.
His artistic achievements
When he met the late musician Mohamed Abdel Wahab, who heard him astonished and said to him: “Like you has reached the top, and there is nothing to give you” and their friendship lasted until Abdel Wahab’s departure.
Sabah Fakhri entered the Guinness Book of Records, when he sang in Venezuelan capital, Caracas, for ten straight hours without pause in 1968.
His name was also mentioned in the Microsoft Encyclopedia “Ankerta” as a symbol of authentic oriental Arabic singing.
Sabah Fakhri was distinguished by his ability to keep his audience interacting with him while singing on stage for long hours, and he had said on several occasions that his audience’s interaction with him plays an important role in his creativity.
Fakhri performed many traditional Aleppo songs in many Arab and international festivals, along with songs from the poems of Abu Firas Al-Hamdani and Al-Mutanabbi, and sang for Ibn Al-Farid, Al-Rawas, Ibn Zaydoun, Ibn Zahr Al-Andalusi and Lisan Al-Din Al-Khatib. In addition to composing poems by contemporary poets such as Fouad Yazigi.
Among his most famous songs are: Malik ya helwa Malik, khamraah aalhob asqeniha, ya tira tiri, Qadak almayas, Ya Mal al-Sham, I am fi mn khamron wa aine, muwashshahat, ya shadi alhan, ebatli jawab, ah ya holu and other popular songs. extensive in the Arab world.
He also participated in well-known cinematic works, such as the movie “Al-Wadi Al-Kabir” with the late singer Warda Al-Jazaeryah, and he also participated in the movie “Al-Saaliik” in 1965 with Duraid Lahham and Maryam Fakhreddine.
Among his television works are “Asmaa Allah Al-Husna” with the late artist Abdul Rahman Al-Rashi, Mona Wassef and Zinati Qudsiya, and the series “Nagham Al-Yams” with the late Rafik Subai and Sabah Al-Jazaery.
Fakhri has documented nearly 160 artworks, including melodies, poems, muwashahat, and mawwals, to preserve the musical heritage that is unique to the city of Aleppo.
Arab and International Awards
Sabah Fakhri has been awarded many awards and certificates of appreciation from international bodies, including a certificate of appreciation for his singing in the Nobel Peace Hall in Sweden for his revival of authentic Arab music, as well as his performance in Beethoven Hall in Bonn, Germany and the Palais des Congrès in Paris.
He was also awarded the Tunisia Cultural Medal by former Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba in 1975, the Honorary Medal from Sultan Qaboos in 2000, the Gold Medal at the Arab Song Festival in Damascus in 1978, and the Syrian Order of Merit of the Excellent Class in 2007.
Responsibilities and positions
Sabah Fakhri held many important positions, such as the Syndicate of Artists in Syria, and the Vice-President of the Union of Arab Artists.
He was also elected as a member of the People’s Assembly in its seventh legislative session of 1998, and served as a member of the Higher Committee of the Love Festival in Lattakia, as a member of the Syrian Song Festival, and as General Director of the First and Eighth Festival.
In 2007, President Bashar al-Assad awarded him the Order of Merit of the Excellent Class, “in appreciation of his art and effort in preserving authentic Arab art and for raising the banner of the continuity of the original Arab artistic heritage.”
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