Mansour is half of one whole: The Rahbani Brothers
Although I love many of the songs the talented Ziad composed for Fairouz, especially the early
songs and the songs on her last album, “Mish kayen hayk tkoon”, I wish that Mansour and
Fairouz will cooperate together to produce grand, magnificent songs and notable plays.
About Mansour Rahbani and his most recent song “Bi sabah el alf ettalet”, I think it is a very
beautiful song both artistically and message-wise. The music is beautiful and elegant, and the
lyrics are poignant and stirring. The lyrics are not repetitive, on the contrary they are original
and innovative. The song directly addresses the issues of racism, sectarianism and suffering, and
makes a clear statement using terms and vocabulary not used before in Rahbani songs. Such a
song is desperately needed at a time when so many people around the world are suffering, and
when so many countries are afflicted by wars and crimes of hate. Noble principles, aims and
concepts of tolerance, justice and benevolence are not, and should never be considered “stupid
old ideas”. Mansour was very successful in promoting such noble ideas using new innovative
lyrics, and in sending the world a message of peace from the East at the dawn of a new
About Mansour’s plays, I haven’t seen or heard any of his plays in full.
Mansour’s play, “The
Last Days of Socrates” has an interesting theme, but it might have had less of an appeal to
general audiences than the older unforgettable Rahbani plays because of the philosophical nature
and cultural detachment it might imply. His new proposed play about Jesus Christ sounds very
interesting, as it strikes the heart of many fundamental current issues.
Now moving on to songs,
many of the songs he has been composing (“Ya tefli elli jaye” for Julia Boutros, “Wehyatak”
[Last Days of Socrates] and “Bi sabah el alf ettalet” for Carol Smaha, and “Lao fiyyi khabbeek”
[Last Days of Socrates] for Hoda) have been very artistic and beautiful. Of course Carol
Smaha’s voice cannot be compared to Fairouz’s magnificent and ethereal voice and her supreme
singing abilities, but Carol did perform the song “Bi sabah el alf ettalet” well, even though I
think it would have been a much greater song if Fairouz sang it.
However with all of this one might feel that there is something missing in the songs and plays
Mansour creates... What’s missing is the ingenious Assi, the remarkable Fairouz, the
distinguished Nasri Shamseddine... and an atmosphere of hopes and great expectations....