MUSIC OF LEBANON
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
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
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
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
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
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
Dabke is the national dance of Lebanon, and Lebanese
take pride in their skills in dabke dancing. Young and old, men and women
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
Fairuz, Najwa Karam
and many more. Dal'ouna and Howaaraa are famous Lebanese dabke songs
popularized through out the Levant.