Google Doodle Celebrates Melhem Barakat's 76th Birthday

Published August 15th, 2021 - 07:44 GMT
Melhem Barakat
Melhem Barakat (Twitter)
Happy birthday to one of Lebanon's most distinguished musicians, Melhem Barakat.
Acclaimed for his unique musical style.

Today’s Doodle celebrates the 76th birthday of Lebanese singer, composer, and actor Melhem Barakat.

The singer-songwriter is widely regarded as one of Lebanon’s most distinguished musicians. He is acclaimed for his unique musical style and his sensational live performances. Melhem Barakat, left our world in 2016 due to prostate cancer.

Kevin Laughlin, who created the illustration, explains the inspiration behind it.

'I began by watching old recordings of Barakat’s performances, trying to get a sense of the singer’s stage presence, performance style, and how his fans might have seen him on screen or at home. There were two main inspirations, stylistically, for this Doodle. The first were stills from the recordings I mentioned above. The second inspiration was pulp fiction covers from the 1940s and 1950s.'

Barakat was born on 15 August 1945, in Kfarshima, Lebanon. He grew up in a house surrounded by art. He lived among a simple and poor family, and his father, Anton Barakat, was good at playing the oud. Melhem used to imitate his father in playing melodies.


Melhem Barakat’s talent appeared since he was in school and at a school celebration, he composed some words from the daily newspaper and sang them, and then joined one of the famous programs of New Voices, and then joined the Rahbani School, and from there he launched.

In 1960, Barakat dropped out of school at the age of 18 and enrolled in the National Institute of Music without his father’s knowledge. He would drop out of the institute four years later to beginning his professional career.

Since the 1990s, Melhem Barakat had several popular songs, such as “Habibi Enta,” which was later sung by his ex-wife May Hariri. He also collaborated with Najwa Karam, Karol Sakr, Shatha Hassoun, and Majida El Roumi.

He established a huge fan base across the Arab world and went on to appear in multiple Lebanese films in the 1980s. His powerful voice reverberated across the globe as he toured internationally from Australia to the United States. 

Barakat composed music for some of the best Arab singers of the past century, including Sabah, Samira Tewfik, Wadih El Safi, and Majida El Roumi. Barakat was known for his energetic songs that mixed classical music with his personal improvisations.

In 2008, for his contributions to Lebanese entertainment, Barakat got the renowned lifetime achievement award at Lebanon’s yearly Murex d’Or ceremony.

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