Wadih El Safi

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Wadih El Safi (Arabic: وديع الصافي‎, born Wadi' Francis; November 1, 1921 – October 11, 2013) was a Lebanese singer, songwriter, composer and actor. He was a Lebanese icon and the forefather of the country's musical culture, he was the longest singer in production, seventy five years in the singing profession. He was the number one singer of his era. He was known amongst his peers to have incarnated and raised the ceiling of all the singing styles and music of that era and added his own intricate new styles and genres to the existing national musical and singing heritage. He is the reference to every new singer and the example to follow for generations to come. Born in Niha, Lebanon, Wadih El Safi started his artistic journey at the age of sixteen when he took part in a singing contest held by Lebanese Radio and was chosen the winner of all categories among 40 other competitors.

Wadih El Safi being a classically trained tenor, is not a verified fact since none of his known works provide a proof of classical singing techniques. He has been known for singing in the belting school class and his phonation are a testimonial of this practice. This is further confirmed in what arguably is his most famous song "Lebnan Ya Ote'et Sama" ("لبنان يا قطعة سما" in Arabic, specifically Lebanese dialect) in which his voice shifts to the so-called Falsetto or more widely recognized today as the "Voce Piena Testa" or the full head register on the second transition "Secondo passagio" around "EB4" note above middle "C4" not overlapping "F4", meaning that his voice falls in the Baritone categorization rather than a tenor precisely a lyric baritone which is often linked to these transition areas. El Safi has no record for singing the "B4" and "C5" tenors' famous "High C" which are the characteristic signature of a tenor's laryngeal mechanism (constriction of the pharynx ) even though many of his age did. He was a classically trained tenor. He gained national recognition when, at seventeen, he won a vocal competition sponsored by the Lebanese Broadcasting Network. El Safi began composing and performing songs that drew upon his rural upbringing and love of traditional melodies, blended with an urban sound, and creating a new style of modernized Lebanese folk music

In 1947, El Safi traveled to Brazil, where he remained until 1950.

El Safi toured the world, singing in many languages, including Arabic, French, Portuguese and Italian, accompanied by his son George.

In the spring of 1973, El Safi recorded and released a vinyl single with the songs "Grishlah Idi" lyrics by Ninos Aho and "Iman Ya Zawna" (lyrics by Amanuel Salamon), first one in Western Syriac and second one in Eastern Syriac. The music arrangements were done by Nuri Iskandar and the songs were produced especially for an Assyrian Musical Festival (in popular speech UNESCO Festival) which was organized twice by the Assyrian Lebanese Association in 1972-73, which occurred in the UNESCO building in Beirut at that time where El Safi participated as a singer.

Wadih El Safi has sung over 5000 songs. He is well known for his mawawil (an improvised singing style) of 'Ataba, Mijana, and Abu el Zuluf. He has performed and recorded with many well-known Lebanese musicians such as Fairouz, and Sabah.

This page was last edited on 11 March 2018, at 01:19.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadih_el_Safi under CC BY-SA license.

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