Sabah Fakhri: We Live Age of Arabic Song Deterioration
Over the past decade, Syrian singer Sabah Fakhri used to sing regularly each year at the Egyptian Opera House adding to his long career for over half a century his collaboration with Egypt’s prominent composers.
“I have new cadences in collaboration with Kamal al Tawil, Mohammed Sultan, Hilmi Baker, Ammar al Sherae’i and al Sharnoubi. These are real art additions to my career course,” Fakhri told the UAE daily al Bayan.
The prominent Syrian singer performed concerts during Eid al Adhha holiday in the United Arab Emirates. He said, “the gulf song shouldn’t be compared with the Syrian or Egyptian song as these songs came as a result of heritage and old civilization. The gulf has witnessed new developments, which made the gulf song, good in its words’ meanings, to spread. But the gulf tunes are mostly of Yemeni origin and the new generation has added the Indian style and blended the Iranian, Turkish and other music with the gulf music. The new product is nothing but a phenomenon which will disappear because the original only will remain.”
Fakhri believes that quick rhythms in modern time have negatively impacted the song development. “When the political and economic stability is restored in our societies and our conditions flourish, the original song will come back because it represents our heritage and us in a true manner. I am too fanatical as far as our heritage is concerned because it reflects our identity,” Fakhri says, adding that he is not against rejuvenation and modernization because these are necessary at all times.
“A serious dialogue should be conducted between generations in order to be able to maintain our heritage. These days we are living the age of the Arabic song deterioration but this doesn’t mean that there is nothing good. The majority of songs are bad and of low standard. At the times of stability the songs of Umm Kulthoum, Abdel Wahab, Sunbati and Zakaria Ahmed emerged but I am not concerned about the art because this deterioration will be eliminated,” added Fakhri.
Commenting on his absence from the song’s bourse, Fakhri said, “I cannot be assessed by the song’s bourse but can be evaluated by university professors. I am proud to say that the late prominent singer Mohammed Abdel Wahab and myself were the only Arab singers who secured the American Academy (U.C.I.A) prize during half a century of singing in Arabic.”
Despite the solemnity of the singer and his classical style, the audience sees him dancing on the stage in a state of ecstasy. He explains this by saying, “music is the language of the universe which God created before human beings. The splendid music makes me live a state of Sufism on the stage so I dance and shake deep from inside.” -- Albawaba.com