In the early fifties Sabri Sharif held the position as the president of the music department in the Near East Radio Station in Cyprus. This station was directed to the Arab World and managed by the British foreign ministry as an independent company. He heard some of the Rahbani Brothers' early works and liked them very much, as did Mohammed Elhgaseen, the station's manager. Elghaseen sent Sharif to Lebanon to learn more about this new musical phenomenon. When he arrived to Lebanon and met with the Rahbani Bothers, they showed him more of their works, which amazed him. He didn't leave Beirut until he stroke a deal with them to produce a number of songs in Lebanon and to broadcast them from the Station.
Mansour refers to Sharif as a great artist that did an incredible job for the Lebanese music. He made a big effort to move the station's branches and budget from Cairo to Beirut because he felt that important artistic works can be launched from Lebanon.
Assy, Mansour and Fairuz all signed deals with Sabri Alsharif. After that Sabri played an important role in producing and promoting the musical plays, the television programs, the radio programs, etc. Sabri is also responsible for helping Zaki Nassif, Tawfik AlBasha and many othes in their early careers as they began their nationwide success from the station.
He recieved so many awards but he was not awarded or cared for as a true artist when he aged and when he was paralyezed 14 years ago. It's also the same sad end of other true artists who spent their lives making real art and not selling into commercialism. Sabri AlSahrif was born in Yafa, Palestine in 1922. He died on the 30th of January 1999.
For more information on Sabri Sharif, early Rahbani works with him and the Near East Radio station, be sure to check the interview with Mansour Rahabi on the articles page from the fourth part. (only in Arabic.)