Arab League honors singer Abu Baker Balfaqih

Published June 19th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

The Arab League’s Pioneer Committee selected Yemeni singer Abu Baker Salem Balfaqih to be honored along with an elite group of Arab art pioneers next October. 

The honoring celebration will take place in presence of a large audience during which the Arab League secretary general Amr Mousa will hand out appreciation awards to the honored persons including intellectuals and Arab art stars who contributed to conveying the Arab art to the world. 

Gulf milieus sources say that Balfaqih mulls quitting art after receiving his prize from the Arab League while the singer’s youngest son Ahmed Balfaqih did not confirm the quittance of his father. 

“My father is now gearing up for wrapping up his latest album which will be released soon. As for his quittance I believe an artist represents an endless feeling,” Ahmed told the daily al Sharq al Awsat. 

Balfaqih was born in Yemen in 1938 and grew up in a family linked with art. His grandfather Abdel Rahman Balfaqih was a famous poet in the Yemeni district of Hadramout. Abu Baker began singing in 1956 and had his contributions to developing and modernizing the Arab heritage and folksongs, which spread in most of the Arab countries. He excelled as a composer through his cadences which a large number of Arab singers sang. 

The Yemeni singer secured the golden disk for his album Mata Ana Ashoufak (when shall I see you) from Greece in 1968. He also ranked number three in 1978 pitch contest organized by UNESCO and was considered as having the third best voice in the world as far as the pitch is concerned.  

Balfaqih also won the first degree art medallion from the Yemeni president Ali Abdulla Saleh in 1989, the Appreciation and Excellence medallion from the Omani Ministry of National Heritage in 1992 and prize for best singing performance at Abha Touristic Festival in 1999. This is in addition to the appreciation medallion from the UAE song festival and an appreciation certificate for his art accomplishments at the gulf song festival -- 

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