Sabah Fakhri

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Sabah Fakhri
صباح فخري
Sabah fakhri cropped.jpg
Background information
Birth nameSabah Abu Qaws
Born (1933-05-02) May 2, 1933 (age 88)
Aleppo, Syria
GenresSyrian, Arabic Music, Muwashahat, Qudud Halabiya
Years active1965–present

Sabah Abu Qaws, also known as Sabah Fakhri (Arabic: صباح فخري‎; born May 2, 1933), is an iconic Syrian tenor singer from Aleppo.

Over the past 50 years of fame and popularity as a singer, Sabah Fakhri modified and popularized the then-fading forms 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 his charismatic performances. He has numerous admirers around the world, and is regarded as an excellent performer of authentic Arabic Tarab.


Sabah was born in Aleppo, Syria and enrolled in the Academy of Arabic Music of Aleppo. He later studied at 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 Fakhri's earliest performances 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 the artistic heritage of his homeland, Syria.

Sabah Fakhri is one of the very few singers from Arabic-speaking countries to have reached widespread popularity by singing in the Arabic language (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 1998, Fakhri became a member of the Syrian parliament for the session, as a representative of artists.[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, to interact with the audience. He says that the audience plays a key role in bringing out the performer's creativity. The audience should be aware of the music and poetry, so they would value the music given to them.[3]

Major works[edit]

Fakhri has sung many traditional songs from Aleppo, based on the poems of Abu Firas al-Hamdani, Al-Mutanabbi and other poets. He has also worked with contemporary composers. Some of his most popular songs are:

  • Yā Hādī al-‘Ess / Mālek Yā Ḥelwa(t) Mālek
  • Khamrat el-Ḥobb
  • Yā Ṭīra(t) Ṭīrī
  • Fōg el-Nakhal (Iraqi song)
  • ’Adduka al-Mayāss
  • Yā Māl el-Shām
  • Muwashshaḥ Imlīlī / Yā Shādī el-Alḥān
  • Eba‘atlī Jawwāb
  • Ah Yā Ḥelō


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 of Syria.[4]



  1. ^ Sabah Fakhri: Straight to the heart, Profile by Fayza Hassan Archived August 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Articles On Members of the Syrian Parliament". flipkart.
  3. ^ In the Course of Performance: Studies in the World of Musical Improvisation, edited by Bruno Nettl, Melinda Russell
  4. ^ [1]

External links[edit]