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Lebanon Tourism

SUMMER vacation in Lebanon


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Lebanese music, songs and singers

Music has played an important role in Lebanese cultural and religious traditions for millennia. In addition to the voice, traditional music incorporates instruments such as the oud, the derbake (a kind of drum also known as the tabla), and the ney.

Le Conservatoire libanais national supérieur de musique or The Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music is the heart of the classical music world in Lebanon, and home to both the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra and the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music.

Several singers have emerged in the period immediately after WWII, including Fairuz, Nasri Shamseddine, Sabah and Wadih El Safi. During the fifteen-year civil war, most of the Lebanese music stars moved to Cairo or Paris, with a large music scene in Beirut only returning after 1992. Modern stars include Ramy Ayach, Diana Haddad, Nawal Al Zoghbi, Najwa Karam, Haifa Wehbe, Rola Saad, Elissa, Ragheb Alama, Walid Toufic, Wael Kfoury, Amal Hijazi, Nancy Ajram, Melhem Zein, Fadel Shaker, The 4 Cats, Assi el Helani and many more. Lebanon "gives birth" to new artists on a daily basis!

The underground music scene is equally vibrant, spearheaded by rock-pop duo Soap Kills but expanding to include a number of groups from a wide array of genres. Underground Arab hip hop groups, such as the Lil' G'z, Rayess Bek, Kitaayoun and RAmez in particular are growing in popularity and alternative Lebanese rock as Meen. The annual Fête de la Musique, held in late June, brings the whole country out for organized and spontaneous underground concerts.

One popular instrument used in Lebanese music is the lute (al-ud, meaning the branch of wood). Compared to a guitar in shape, this instrument creates a deep and mellow sound.

The mijwiz which literally means “double” in Arabic is a very popular instrument used in Lebanese music. It is very related to the mijwiz, both reed flutes played in the same style and very popular among mountain villagers.

The tablah is a small hand-drum also known as the durbakke. Most tablahs are beautifully decorated,... a wondrful gift idea or souvenir from Lebanon.

Also known as the rikk, the daff is the Arabic name for the popular instrument corresponding to the English tambourine.And there's also the buzaq, which is an essential instrument in the Rahbani repertoire, a long-necked fretted string instrument.

Before tiled roofs were installed on Lebanese homes, flat roofs were made of tree branches that were topped with mud. When the change of seasons came, especially winter, the mud would crack and start to leak and would need to be fixed. The owner of the house would call his neighbors for help, and the neighbors would gather up on the roof. They would hold hands, form a line and start stomping their feet while walking on the roof in order to adjust the mud.

A durbakke, nay and a mijwiz were added in order to keep the men going in the cold weather (it helped stimulate the blood pressure to produce more energy). As time emerged, the Dabke dance came to be known one of Lebanon's most famous traditions. It is made livelier, when friends and families gather around the Lebanese mezze with arak or wine and begin to perform this dance.

Dabke is the national dance of Lebanon, and Lebanese take pride in their skills in dabke dancing. Young and old, men and women participate in this festive dance. Dabke is a traditional line dance and it is sometimes compared to Irish step dancing or the Greek Hassapiko.

The songs accompanying the dabke are best sang in Lebanese mountain dialects. Great dabke singers include Tony Kaiwan, Assi el Helani, Fares Karam, Fairuz, Najwa Karam and many more. Dal'ouna and Howaaraa are famous Lebanese dabke songs popularized through out the Levant.


WINTER vacation in Lebanon


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