Sabah Fakhri

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Sabah Fakhri
Sabah fakhri2.jpg
Sabah Fakhri
Background information
Native name صباح فخري
Birth name Sabah Abu Qaws
Born (1933-05-02) May 2, 1933 (age 82)
Aleppo, Syria
Genres Syrian, Arabic Music, Muwashahat, Qudud Halabiya
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1965-present

Sabah Fakhri (Arabic: صباح فخري‎) (born 1933): is an iconic Syrian traditional and tenor singer from Aleppo.

Over the past 50 years of fame and popularity as a singer, Sabah Fakhri modified and popularized the then-fading form of traditional Arabic music, Muwashahat and Qudud Halabiya. He is well known for his exceptionally strong vocals, impeccable execution of Maqamat and harmony, as well as charismatic performances. He has numerous admirers around the world, and an excellent performer of authentic Arabic Tarab.


Fakhri was born Sabah Abu Qaws in Aleppo, Syria on May 2, 1933, and enrolled in the Academy of Arabic Music of Aleppo, then later in the Academy of Damascus, from which he graduated in 1948. He was given the stage name Fakhri by his mentor, Syrian nationalist leader Fakhri al-Barudi, who encouraged him as a young boy to stay in Syria and not travel to Italy. One of the earliest performances for Fakhri was in 1948 at the Presidential Palace in Damascus, before President Shukri al-Quwatli and Prime Minister Jamil Mardam Bey. Unlike many Arab artists, he never studied or worked in Cairo, insisting that his fame is linked to his origins, as a Syrian Arab.

He soon became famous all over the Arab World, performing in many Arab countries and capitals as well as receiving honors over the years for his work in maintaining the popularity of traditional Arabic music. Sabah Fakhri is also one of the very few Arabic singers to receive widespread popularity and perform concerts worldwide (including Europe, Asia, The Americas, and Australia). His name is enshrined in the Guinness Book of Records for his prowess in Caracas, Venezuela where he sang continuously for 10 hours without pause.[1]

In its 936th edition, on August 25, 1999, Al-Ahali newspaper mentioned that Fakhri refused the nationality of the United States, holding on to his Syrian origins.[2]

Interaction with the audience[edit]

When he performs, Fakhri insists on interacting with his audience. Before singing, he insists on having a good atmosphere by having good musicians and an appropriate sound system. While performing he asks for the lights to remain on, in order to interact with the audience. He says that the audience play a key role in bringing the performer's creativity. The audience should be aware of the music and poetry, so they would value the music given to them.[3]

Sabah Fakhri in a concert in 2007


Major Works[edit]

Fakhri relies on the traditional songs of Aleppo, the traditional Arab poems of Abu Firas al-Hamdani, Al-Mutanabbi, and many other traditional and contemporary composers. His most popular works are:

  • "Ya Hadi al Les/Malek Ya Helwa Malek"
  • "Khamrata el Hob"
  • "Ya Teira Tiri"
  • "Foog Elnakhal"
  • "Addouka al Mayass"
  • "Ya Mal il Sham"
  • "Mouwachah Imlili/Ya Chadi el Alhan"
  • "Eba'atli Jawab"
  • "Ah Ya Helo"


He was a member of the Syrian parliament for a period of time as a representative of artists.

Fakhri was awarded the Syrian Order of Merit of Excellent Degree by the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in recognition of his achievements in serving and his role in reviving the artistic heritage in Syria.[5]

Anas Abu Qaws[edit]

Sabah Fakhri's son, Anas Abu Qaws, (born in 1976) has recently been active in the art scene, as a singer trying to create a style that mixes both tradition and modernity. He started as a rock singer and classical opera singer and is now preparing to launch his debut CD, "Jamal al-Roh" (Beauty of the Soul). Fakhri Senior has always stood up for his youngest son, saying, "When Anas decides to sing traditional Arabic music, nobody around can challenge him. I know how I raised him, on a solid musical base!"


External links[edit]