American Univesity of Beirut

Lecture remembers the great Joseph Sakr

​​Sally Abou Melhem <>, Office of Communications

​AUB’s University for Seniors held a lecture on November 12, 2018 about the late, renowned Lebanese singer and actor Joseph Sakr. The event was attended by musician and playwright Ziad Rahbani, as well as actor Tarek Tamim, filmmaker Mai Masri, and members of Sakr’s family. Sakr was known for the unique artistic duo he formed with Ziad Rahbani, appearing in many of his plays.

The lecture was delivered by journalist Elias Sahab, who is known for his articles and books on music criticism. Sahab shed light on how Ziad Rahbani and Sakr were able to raise the sarcastic song to a high level, unprecedented in the Arabic art scene before. Their lyrics and performances came as an expression of the depths of the crises that hit Lebanon during its contemporary history.

Sakr started his career in music by joining the Popular Lebanese Group and taking part in performances with prominent Lebanese singer Fairouz. He then became an eminent singer with the celebrated Lebanese musicians and playwrights, the Rahbani Brothers, appearing in leading and supporting roles in their musicals such as Lulu in 1974 and Mays el Reem in 1975. 

Some of the plays by Ziad Rahbani that Sakr appeared in are, Sahriyyeh in 1973, Nazl el Srour in 1974, Bil Nisbeh La Bukra Shou? in 1978, Film Amerki Taweel in 1980, Shi Fashel in 1983, Bi Khsous El Karameh Wel Shaab El Aneed in 1993, and Lawla Feshat El Amal in 1994. Some of his popular song performances are El Haleh Taabane Ya Laila, Ana Elli Alayki Meshtaq, and Aa Hadeer el Bosta. Joseph Sakr passed away in Beirut in 1997.

The audience listened to a collection of Sakr’s most popular theatrical songs that were composed by Ziad Rahbani, in addition to an unpublished song by Joseph Sakr that his family wanted to share with the audience of the University for Seniors for the first time.

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