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Wadih El Safi (born Wadih Francis in Niha, Lebanonmarker, in 1921) is an Lebanese singer, songwriter, and actor. He is a Lebanese cultural icon, and is often called the "Voice of Lebanon". Wadih El Safi started his artistic journey at the early age of seventeen when he took part in a singing contest held by the Lebanese Radio and was first among fifty other competitors. He was named then the first singer of Lebanon

Musical career

El Safi is a classically trained tenor, having studied at the Beirutmarker National Conservatory of Music. He became nationally known when, at seventeen, he won a vocal competition sponsored by the Lebanese Broadcasting Network. El Safi began composing and performing songs that drew upon his rural upbringing and love of traditional melodies, blended with an urban sound, and creating a new style of modernized Lebanese folk music. He performed in venues throughout the Middle East.

In 1947, El Safi traveled to Brazil, where he remained until 1950. After his return to Lebanon, El Safi continued to develop folk music and chose poetry and zajal to inspire patriotism and focus on love, devotion, morals and values.

El Safi toured the world, singing in many languages, including Arabic, French, Portuguese and Italian. He took part in major international festivals and earned many high distinction honors in Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, Morocco, Syria, Mascat and France. He spent some time acting as well, playing in the 1966 Lebanese film "Mawal".

In the spring of 1973 El Safi recorded and released a vinyl single with the songs "Grishlah Idi" and "Iman Ya Zawna", both in Assyrian. The music arrangements were done by Nuri Iskandar and the songs were produced especially for the Assyrian UNESCOmarker Festival, which occurred in Beirut at that time where El Safi participated as a singer .

El Safi was awarded a doctorate honoris causa from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik.

The Historical Voice

Throughout 60 years, El Safi devoted his art to the human values he believes in. He is able to make his songs known by all in Lebanon and the Arab world. His audience gathered people of all ages, tastes, classes and regions, in a new school based on tradition and inspired by folklore. He performs his songs with spontaneity and simplicity aided by a flexible voice, which can change form one note to another and expresses; thus, the power and richness of his vocal talents. Wadih El Safi has proved that his voice has no match and can perform all kinds of songs with the same high skills. He is worthy of sitting at the throne of the genuine Arab Tarab. He is a great artist who has preserved the glow of his presence and the brilliance of his performance.

Songs and recordings

El Safi has written over 3000 songs. He is well known for his mawawil (an improvised singing style) of 'ataba, mijana, and Abu el Zuluf. He has performed and recorded with many well-known Lebanese musicians, including Najwa Karam, Fairouz, and Sabahmarker.

Discography (performer)

  • Best of Wadi - Vol. 1 (EMI, 1999)
  • Best of Wadi - Vol. 2
  • Best of Wadi - Vol. 3
  • Inta Omri (2000)
  • The Two Tenors:Wadi Al Safi Aad Sabah Fakhri (Ark 21, 2000)
  • Wadih El-Safi and José Fernandez (Elef Records)
  • Wetdallou Bkheir
  • Rouh ya zaman al madi atfal qana
  • Chante Le Liban
  • Wadi El Safi / Legends Of The 20th Century
  • Mersal El Hawa
  • Mahrajan Al Anwar
  • Youghani Loubnan
  • Ajmal El Aghani

Discography (Composer)

  • Cantiques de l'Orient (Harmonia Mundi Fr., 1996)
  • Psaumes Pour Le 3ème Millénaire (Angel Records, 2002)

See also


External links

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