Fadl Shaker at a performance in 2008
|Birth name||Fadl Abdulrahman Shamandar
فضل عبد الرحمن شمندر
April 1, 1969 |
|Genres||Lebanese, pan-Arab music, pop, arabesque pop|
Fadl Abdulrahman Shamandar (Arabic: فضل عبد الرحمن شمندر) better known as Fadl Shaker (Arabic: فضل شاكر[pronunciation?]) (born on April 1, 1969) is a former prominent Lebanese singer of Lebanese and Palestinian origin and currently a fugitive militant Salafist in hiding. During his musical career he was signed to Al Khouyoul Records and from 2003 onwards with Rotana Records. In 2011, he declared his allegiance to Salafist sheikh Ahmed al-Assir renouncing music on religious grounds and retiring from his career in music. In June 2013, al-Assir militants attacked the Lebanese Army killing 17 soldiers. Shaker claimed to have killed two soldiers himself. Al-Assir and Shaker later fled and arrest warrants were issued for their capture. During the events, militants went into his villa in Saida, Lebanon and burnt it down. Shaker's whereabouts remain unknown, but media reports confirm he is in hiding in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. The Lebanese military prosecutor general has signed warrants for his arrest and charged him for a number of crimes including taking part in armed rebellion and in murders. If convicted, he can possibly face life imprisonment or the death penalty. He recently announced on LBCI news that he has separated himself from sheikh Al-Assir and that he doesn't have any ties with him anymore. Lebanese media also reported that he had retained the legal services of Attorney May El Khansa, who announced that Shaker is considering to surrender himself to the Lebanese authorities for a possible lighter sentence.
1997: Early commercial success
In 1997, he was discovered by an agent from the recording label Stallions Company, and was signed a contract to produce three albums. This was Fadl's first career break.
Fadl released his first album Wallah Zaman in 1998, which had eight original songs, including "Meta Habeby Meta", "Nazra Wah". Some of these songs were composed and written by such known Arab stars like Salah El Sharnoby and Ahmed Sheta.
The second album was Baya'a El Qolob released in 1999, and the title song hit # 1 on all charts in the first week of the album's debut. The song was also very popular on radio stations throughout the Middle East. Due to the overwhelming success and huge sales of the album, Fadl decided to produce two music video clips, the first was for the song "Baya'a El Qolob" and the second was for "Eesheqtak". As a result of his first album's astonishing success, Fadl was catapulted to become one of the top superstars in the Middle East.
2000 - 2002
His third album was El Hob El Adem, released in 2000. It included very famous songs like Ash Men Shafak. This album was also a huge success, just like his previous album. It topped all charts as well. His fourth album Hobak Khayal was released in 2001, and contained 10 songs this time, and was produced by Al Khoyoul Company. It contained songs like Hazzak Ya Qalby, Men Kotr Hoby Feek, and El Maraya.
In 2002, Fadl recorded and released his first duo with the renowned Arab singer, Nawal. This duet topped the charts for five months straight, and broke all sales records in the Arab world. It was voted by music critics as the best duo in the history of music from Arab States of the Persian Gulf. Its success was also complemented by the release of a hot music video clip, directed by Ahmed El Doghajy.
In the first album, Fadl Shaker composed three famous songs (Meta Habeby Meta, Maserak Habeby and Ya Tkon Habeby), and one song in his 2nd album Malet Ana A'azar. He didn't compose any other songs in the albums that followed.
2003 - 2011
In 2003, Fadl released his new smash-hit ballad Ya Ghayeb to Arabic radio stations all over the Middle East. The song was voted the Best song for 2003 by various radio stations. As a result, it became a big hit before the album or any music videos were released. The song reached No.1 status on all Arabic stations in the Middle East. Fadl bought all rights of the tune for his song from Greek composer and singer, Sotis Volanis, and the lyrics were written by Prince Turky Bin Abdel Rahman El Sudairy, who also wrote another song of Fadl's coming album called Dehkat El Dony.
Fadl Shaker was always concerned about singing maqamat, the hardest of Arabic melodies, and he always tried to preserve the true Arabic musical style in all of his songs. His songs are known not to have any western melody influence. Fadl is known for his unique singing style, and as a result, has built a huge fan base throughout the Middle East.
During his musical career, Fadl has won many prestigious music awards in the Middle East, and in just four years (1998–2002) he became one of the Middle East greatest music legends. He was nicknamed by his fans as Malek El Romansia or King of Romance.
Fadl Shaker also performed in major Arabic Festivals in many Arab countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and other countries worldwide. He also performed with other well known Arabic singers, in a big festival in honor of the Intifada.
Fadel Shaker's father is Lebanese, and his mother Palestinian, and he grew up in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp. He was married to a Palestinian woman and said he would be proud to be a Palestinian, even asking the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to give him Palestinian citizenship. He said that he was raised with Palestinian refugees, and used to sing on roofs of Palestinian homes in refugee camps in Lebanon. Later that day, Mahmoud Abbas announced that he would give Shaker a Palestinian passport.
Fadl Shaker married Nadia, a Palestinian, in 1989 when he was just 20. He had fallen in love with her after she attended one of his concerts. They have three children, Alhan (born in 1990), Muhammad (born in 1994) and Rana (born in 2002). The couple divorced after their third child, and she remarried another man. According to friends, when his wife Nadia left him, he would sob on stage as he sang, thinking of her.
Fadl enjoyed fishing on his boat at the shores of his birth city Saida, and enjoyed most water sports. He loved playing the piano and listened to old and modern music with his family ran his restaurant in Saida. He had built a big villa for the family near Saida.
After the uprising in Syria started in 2011, Fadel Shaker announced that he is a supporter of the militants cause and sang a song for the Islamic Salafism. He later announced that he is a prime supporter of Ahmad Al-Assir, a Lebanese party leader of the Salafi sect of Islam. While addressing a large audience with the Salafist leader, Shaker declared that he now considers all non-Islamic music to be haram, apologized for participating in this "superficial" culture, and has chosen to put his music career on hold to focus on Islamic studies.
On Sunday 23 June 2013, after a group of militants loyal to Ahmed Assir attacked and killed 17 Lebanese soldiers in Sidon, Shaker later claimed to have killed two of them himself. Lebanese authorities have issued arrest warrants for Ahmed al-Assir and 123 members of his militia, including Fadl Shaker. His brother, Abu Abed Shmandour, was subsequently killed, and his nephew was arrested. During the events, militants went into his villa in Saida and burnt it down. His whereabouts remain unclear, but Lebanese media sources have speculated he is in hiding in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp where he allegedly sought refuge after the incidents. He has made several appearances during Ramadan in a military buffer zone known as "Tawaare' Taameer Ail el Helweh" between the Lebanese Army barricades and the civilian areas of the camp under the protection of Jund al-Sham an anti-Fatah Sunni Muslim group found in the camp.
- 1998: Walah Zaman [Al Khouyoul Records]
- 1999: Baya' El Oolob [Al Khouyoul Records]
- 2000: El Hob El Adeem [Al Khouyoul Records]
- 2000: Sahrat Tarab [Master Melody]
- 2001: Hobak Khayal [Al Khouyoul Records]
- 2003: Layali Beirut [Rotana Records]
- 2003: Sa'at Taram maa Fadl Shaker Rotana Records
- 2003: Sidi Rouhi [Rotana Records]
- 2004: Saharni El Shok [Rotana Records]
- 2006: Allah Aalam [Rotana Records]
- 2009: Baada Aal Bal Rotana Records
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- ""جند الشام" متخوفون من إستهدافهم...وفضل شاكر يدعوهم للتأهب". SlabNews.com. Retrieved 2015-02-23.