Arab Music That Shook the Century

Arab Music That Shook the Century
困难 2644

走近充满异域风情的阿拉伯音乐与其极富影响力的天才艺术家

Arab Music That Shook the Century

As the sun prepares to dawn on another century, one pauses to take a retrospective look at the musical accomplishments which culminated this century in the Arab world. During this eventful century many gifted and accomplished artists developed our music into a language which is expressive of our culture, our values, and our feelings.

Starting in the early 1900's, the renowned Sayyed Darweesh paved the way in revolutionizing Arabic music, as he emancipated the song from Turkish dominance and royal palace flattery. Sayyed Darweesh transformed the Arabic song into a song which is not necessarily long, yet is expressive of the everyday Arab. Even though Sayyed Darweesh's life was short, he left behind a legacy of art for generations to come, and he had a notable influence on Arabic music, as well as great Arab composers such as Mohammad Abdelwahab and the Rahbani Brothers.

Building on this legacy, and continuing along the lines of innovation, the great Mohammad Abdelwahab's music emerged taking Arabic music into new horizons. Mohammed Abdelwahab introduced large-scale orchestration into Arabic music, and he also presented Arabic film musicals. Until this day, Abdelwahab remains a pyramid of Arabic musical art, in terms of both musical composition and singing. It was an age of giants where Abdelwahab along with other notable music composers such as Riyad Al Sonbati, Mohammad Al Qasabji, Zakariyya Ahmad ... innovated and beautified Arabic music with one ultimate objective in mind: Art.

Later emerged the memorable Fareed El Atrash who also introduced his own distinguished style leaving a notable influence on Arabic music. Fareed brilliantly developed a unique way of blending modal structures which yielded tunes that were marked by their own "Fareed-ian" style. Fareed was not only a composer, but also a distinguished singer, as well as one of the most prominent lute (oud) players of all times; he was the "king of the lute".

Songs were characterized by beautiful and meaningful lyrics and poetry. The words of prominent poets and lyricists such as the great Ahmad Shawqi, Ahmad Rami, Saeed Aql, Bayram Al Tunsi, Hafiz Ibraheem, Ma'moun El Shennawi, Hasan Subhi, Abdelwahab Mohammad, Nizar Qabbani, as well as the poems of old Arabic poets such as Abu Faris Al Hamdani, El Qusheiri, Ibnul Wakeel, and Abu Nuwas, were embellished beautifully with exquisite music.

It was a Golden Era in the life of Arabic music which was not only marked by artistically rich and ingenious musical compositions and lyrics, but also by impressive vocal talent. One of the most notable and celebrated voices of the century was Om Kolthoum's powerful voice, which deeply touched the whole Arab nation. Her legacy still lives amongst us ... and as the Egyptians say, "in Egypt two things never change, the pyramids and the voice of Om Kolthoum".

Another unforgettable talent was Asmahan and her astounding voice and distinguished presence. Although Asmahan's singing career was cut short, her songs are still remembered even half a century after her death. Layla Mourad's resonant voice also enriched Arabic songs with splendor and beauty. Layla Mourad's talent was not only limited to wonderful singing, but also crossed into the acting domain through numerous film musicals. Then came great new talents like the charming Shadia who brilliantly excelled in both singing and acting. Shadia's heart-warming voice and character captivated Arab audiences, and continue to do so until this day. Many other unforgettable voices also dominated the period such as Fayza Ahmad with her graceful voice, Najah Salam with her shining voice, Suad Mohammad with her deep resounding voice, Nasri Shamseddine with his strong sonorous voice, and Nazem Al Ghazali who impressed audiences with his powerful voice and his distinguished songs. Also, when they were in their golden days, Warda, Sabah, and Wadi Essafi constituted noteworthy talents who left an impact on Arab audiences during that period.

One exceptionally unique artist who left a deep impression and a remarkable impact on Arab audiences is Abdelhaleem Hafez. His unique voice, his sincerity and grace in presentation and performance, as well as his refined taste in music made him the one and only Abdelhaleem Hafez. His influence on all generations up until this day is sensational. Abdelhaleem created a phenomenon in Arabic music which can never be forgotten nor imitated.

A new generation of highly-talented composers also emerged around that time. Prominent composers such as Mohammad El Mougi, Kamal El Taweel, Baleegh Hamdi, Zaki Naseef, Philemon Wehbe, Najeeb Hankash, the Rahbani Brothers, and many others further enriched Arabic music with diversified tunes and novel ideas.

The great Rahbani Brothers and Fairouz constituted a remarkable station in the musical time-line of this century. Together, the Rahbani Brothers and Fairouz developed an unsurpassed form of eternal art, and with it they reached the zenith of musical beauty and perfection. Fairouz is endowed with an unprecedented celestial voice which is unique from any other voice, and the Rahbani Brothers ingeniously adorned their music with her ethereal voice, and excelled in composing and creating all styles of music. Through the poetry they wrote, the music they composed, the plays they presented, and through the stands they took, the Rahbani Brothers and Fairouz became part of the collective Arab consciousness and culture.

Today, talented music composers such as Gamal Salamah, Elie Shwayri, Marcel Khaleefe, and in some of their works Ziad Rahbani and Ziad Boutros, as well as some others are offering Arabic music new visions and are trying to continue on the path of advancing Arabic music. On the singing front, one highly-endowed artist notable to mention is Majida El Roumi who has maintained high artistic standing and stature throughout her artistic journey. Crucial to mention is Kazem El Saher's eminence on both the fronts of musical composition and singing, as he has established new grounds for the contemporary Arabic song. His prosperity and the way he repopularized classical and poetic compositions among different generations, in itself, encouraged less confident singers to pursue more refined forms of singing. Also important to note is the talented artist who shook our being by storm when she cried out our pains with extreme truthfulness and grace. She was Julia Boutros, the artist who continues to speak to our souls whenever she sings. Lotfi Boushnaq is also a very distinguished and highly-endowed singer who has also established his own unique style. Gifted with a beautiful capable voice, Lotfi has thrilled audiences with many Tunisian-style enchanting songs.

However, despite the accomplishments of such highly-talented contemporary composers and singers, today a noticeable void is felt in the musical art front in the Arab world, as there exists an enormous thirst for refined music and singing. The music scene is suffering from a deficiency in good voices and talent, and from a scarcity of expressive, artistic, and novel musical compositions. Present is a myriad of squeakers and wheezers who mix their output with distorted and monotonous imported fashionable beats. This flow is accompanied with a routine set of words, which are often just compiled meaninglessly to deliver absurd sets of rhyming slogans. The output of low-grade singers and arrangers unfortunately vastly outnumbers genuine art, and such substandard "commodity" is being instilled in upcoming generations, by different socializing factors, as the "music of today".

Arabic music is not a fixed form of redundancy, nor is it an imported xeroxed commodity. Music is a wide range of expression which articulates the feelings, customs, cultural values, worries, hopes and dreams of a nation. As Ludwig van Beethoven said it, "Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy". Music delineates the face of a culture ...

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  • 易读度:困难
  • 来源:外教社 2016-06-28