Born Nouhad Wadi Haddad and raised in Lebanon, Fairuz began her musical career as a teenager. From chorus girl at the Lebanese radio station in the late 1940s, to critical and popular acclaim from the 1950's to today, Fairuz is acknowledged not only for her musical talent and contribution, but also as a cultural and political icon. A symbol of a people, a heritage, a quest for peace, and of humanity.
During most of her career, Fairuz reflected two other great artists, Assi (her husband) and Mansour Rahbani. They wrote the lyrics and composed her tunes. Today, many of her songs reflect the composing talent of Ziad Rahbani who is Fairuz's son. Her songs testify to the Rahbani musical genius, as well as to Fairuz's broad musical background.
Fairuz is worshiped by millions worldwide. She is routinely received by kings, presidents, and illustrious dignitaries. Unlike any other artist, Fairuz holds the key to almost every city where she has performed, given to her as a symbolic gesture of appreciation and recognition. Though she never sang in the holy city, the key to Jerusalem presented to her during a private visit with her father is among her most prized possessions.
In recognizing Fairuz, which means “gem”, American poet Andrew Oerke says this of heaven’s gift to humanity:
“The land of the prophets formed a river in
your throat. You cannot help it, you were
found in a church. Fairuz, you are a cloud,
I know for I have floated in your song.
I could see the rain, at first I thought it was
tears, but it was thirst creating its own answer
in a mist of hope for the land you sing.
Your secret is that the moon constantly
melts and reconstitutes in your voice.
Your secret is the Source that populates
you with the spirit of the people.
Your curtains dance with the wind through
the flutes whose drapes are woven from
grass and under the trudge of Jesus’ feet,
and you sleep well on angels’ hair.”
In Mel Gibson controversial movie, "The Passion of the Christ", the crossifex sound track is a Byzantine passion that was chanted 25 years ago by Fairuz. (clip of the Greek Orthodox chant sung by Fairuz here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=9QCZc2A1p7Y&feature=related)