Wadih El Safi, a Lebanese classical singer and actor, died on Friday, according
He was 91. El Safi’s health severely deteriorated about this
time last year , following a surgery to a broken leg El Safi is known to have
enriched the Arab music library with outstanding works of art. He is a singer, a
composer and considered one of the musical giants in Lebanon and the Arab
His first appearance was at the Lebanese song competition in 1938,
in which he won the first place amongst 40 other contestants.
studied at the Beirut National Conservatory of Music, 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 El Safi toured the world, singing in many languages,
including Arabic, Syriac, French, Portuguese and Italian.
He helped give
the Lebanese song its identity by developing folk and country singing, stirring
homesickness to country and countryside in expatriates.
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 Sabah.