I am calling on all my cyberfriends to help..
Some of you might know that I have three lovely children.. In their studies, they are pursuing very different careers.. my eldest daughter is a 'pure' scientist.. she is a PhD Student in Genetics / Molecular Biology, a field that is far too cerebral for a simple-minded guy like me.. My son is in his Third Year at Medical School.. (he wouldn't listen to his old man and do Accountancy instead!..). My younger daughter, (she and my son are twins), is doing something completely different.. She is an accomplished musician, and is in her final year at University, studying World and Popular Music.. At the moment, she is up to her eyeballs preparing her dissertation, which is about Fairuz, the public perception of Fairuz and the impact of her music on the Arab society.. It started as an attempt to look at the role of feminine voices in Arabic music, and slowly morphed to this current topic..
And here is where you, my dear cyberfriends, can help...
Dana is collating views of people who grew up listening to Fairuz, (whether they like her work or not, so this includes you, Abu Fares!..), and she has set a few questions that I would be grateful if you could spare a few moments to answer..
The questions are not aimed at academics of Ethnomusicology, nor necessarily at professional musicians, although the views of such illustrious company would be greatly welcome and highly appreciated.. The questions are aimed at the rest of us.. those who grow up listening to the songs of Fairuz, and the music of the Rahbani brothers.. Whether you like Fairuz or not, Dana is really looking at your perception of Fairuz and the effects of her work on Society.. So, your views and your answers will be of immense help for Dana..
Dana loves her music, and enjoys what she does immensely.. She is very serious about her music.. She is planning to do a Masters degree next year, and the topic is likely to be a major expansion on the topic of her dissertation.. She will probably end up writing a definitive book on Fairuz, as, she assures me, there is nothing like this written about her!.. (whereas so much has been written about Um Kulthoum, for example..)
Anyway, and without any further digression (digression??.. Moi?!...), here are the questions:-
- What is your opinion of Fairuz as a performer? Do you like or dislike her music?
- What is it about her music that you like/dislike? (e.g. her voice, the lyrics, the music, feelings associated with the music, etc.)
- Fairuz's popularity and success are beyond question. What do you think contributed to this?
- Fairuz was extremely important on the music scene across the Arab world. Why do you think this was?
- Fairuz was a village girl and was from a poor background. Do you think this affected her popularity, and why/why not?
- "Fairuz sang about our everyday life". Do you agree with this statement? Why/why not?
- Fairuz and the Rahbani brothers were a team. Do you agree with this? Do you think Fairuz would have been as successful without the Rahbanis?
- Zahrat Al-Mada’en was a particularly significant song due to the timing of its first performance (a few months after the fall of Jerusalem in 1967). Do you remember the first time you heard it? What emotional impact, if any, did it have on you?
This last question, in particular, brought back some very deep-seated emotions.. I heard the song live when Fairuz sang it, for the first time, at Damascus International Fair Festival in August 1967.. mere months after the fall of Jerusalem.. Even as a lad of ten, I was overwhelmed by the power of the song and the emotions it evoked.. Now, almost 40 years later, every time I hear it, I still get goosebumps, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand on their ends... but, again, I digress...
So, my friends.. do you think you can spare a few minutes to answer these questions??.. Please feel free to be as brief or detailed as you like.. but please be faithful to your real feelings about the topic..
Thank you very much, my friends.. I know I can count on you..
(Photo by SB: Dana, November 2003)