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Sabah in the 1960s
|Birth name||Jeanette Gergis Feghali|
جانيت جرجس فغالي
|Born||10 November 1927|
Bdadoun, Greater Lebanon
|Died||26 November 2014 (aged 87)|
|Genres||Arabic music, Traditional|
Sabah (Arabic: صباح Ṣabāḥ Lebanese pronunciation: [sˤɑˈbaːħ]; born Jeanette Gergis Feghali, جانيت جرجس فغالي; 10 November 1927 – 26 November 2014) was a Lebanese singer and actress. Nicknamed and known with the title of Al Chahroura el Wadi (meaning the songbird of the valley, based on her region of origin Wadi Chahrour also called Ourrouar) in the Arab world, she released over 50 albums and acted in 98 movies as well as over 20 Lebanese stage plays. She had a reported more than 3,500 songs in her repertoire. And also there was a series made about her called “الشحرورة” in 2010 .She was also among the first Arabic singers to perform at the Olympia in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Royal Albert Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House. She was considered one of the four Lebanese icons along with Fairuz, Wadih El Safi and Nasri Shamseddine and was nicknamed "Empress of the Lebanese Song" (Arabic: إمبراطورة الأغنية اللبنانية).
Sabah emerged at a time when the field of Arab singers was already crowded with formidable competitors. These included Najat Al Saghira (born 1938), Warda Al-Jazairia (1939–2012), Shadia (1931–2017), Fayza Ahmed (1934–1983), Fairuz (born 1934) and others.
Sabah released her first song in 1940 at age 15. She soon caught the eye of Egyptian film producer Asia Dagher, who immediately signed her for three films. The first of these, El-Qalb Louh Wahid (The Heart Has Its Reasons), made her a star and she became known by her character's name—Sabah—which is Arabic for morning. She also acquired several affectionate nicknames, including "Chahroura" ("songbird") and "Sabbouha," a diminutive of Sabah. Among her most popular films were Soft Hands (1964), Ataba Square (1959), and The Second Man (1960), in which she played a cabaret singer who vows to avenge her brother's death at the hands of a smuggling ring. In her parallel music career, she recorded more than 3,000 songs, working with a string of legendary Egyptian composers, including the late Mohammed Abdel Wahab. She specialised in a Lebanese folk tradition called the mawal, and her most famous songs included "Zay el-Assal" ("Your Love is Like Honey on my Heart") and "Akhadou el-Reeh" ("They Took the Wind"). Sabah released over 50 albums and acted in 98 films during her career. Sabah's youthfulness and the joy she brought in her performances made her a living symbol of the "belle époque" and of the "joie de vivre" in the Levant and the Arab world.
Sabah was born to a Maronite Christian family in Bdadoun in Wadi Chahrour also called Ourrouar, a small town southeast of Beirut. She came from a troubled family; her father physically abused her and tried to steal her early movie earnings. Her first marriage was to escape her father's control. Her brother also killed her mother because he believed she was having an affair.
She carried four different passports for four different countries: Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and the United States. She wed 7 times, most notably to Egyptian actor Roshdi Abaza, as well as Lebanese author-director Wassim Tabbara, Lebanese businessman Najib Chammas, Lebanese politician Youssef (Joe) Hammoud and Egyptian musician Anwar Mansy. Her last marriage was to the much-younger Lebanese artist Fadi Lubnan. She had two children, Sabah Chammas (from her marriage with Najib Chammas) and Howayda Mansy (from her marriage to Anwar Mansy). Sabah was a known medical doctor in the United States and Howayda, a relartively well-known singer, actress and socialite.
In her advanced age, she refused to leave the limelight, as well as her garish outfits. But she was unabashed: "I'm proud that I'm a village girl but I had a lot of ambition," she said in 2008. Chady Maalouf, head of programming at Voice of Lebanon Radio said, "She broke so many taboos. I don't know if she was even aware of it... She was the example of a star, she was totally complete in her appearance, behavior and voice. She shocked people all the time." It should be also added that she was known for her truly remarkable joie de vivre as she radiated to her public a sense of happiness and goodness in embodiment of a belle époque in the modern Arab world! 
She lived many love stories but she never found love. She said in one of her interviews that her ex-husbands usually called her "Mrs. Bank". They married her just because of her large fortune, and that's why none of her love relationships worked out successfully, to say nothing of how many times they cheated on her, e.g., Wassim Tabbara. Anwar Mansi allegedly was a poker addict and was beating her as well. As for Najib Chammas, he wanted her to get away from the spotlights and become a housewife.
In April 2008, a publication with supporting photos announced that she had married Joseph Gharib, her hair-dresser of 17 years. It was later revealed that she was only pulling an April Fools' Day joke on the public.
after selling her house in Hazmieh which was described bythe Diva herself as " two big and cold fr only one person , she moved to the neighboring Hotel Comfort in Baabda, Mount Lebanon, a hill city overlooking Beirut and the Mediterranean Sea, and later lived in Hotel another next to Baabda. She suffered from many illnesses due to several thrombuses in her brain, leading to loss of control of her left hand and foot. Though her condition was too severe , she maintained the utmost concentration, her memory remained intact.
Until 2009, she performed both in concert and on television, including such programs as Star Academy (the Arabic equivalent of the United Kingdom's Fame Academy), where she sang her new single on stage opposite a line of mannequins displaying costumes from several of her early films and musicals. In the 1990s, she and her former husband Fadi Lubnan (Kuntar) made a documentary about her life, which aired on Future Television under the title "The Journey of My Life", (مشوار حياتي). She also developed a close collaboration with singer Rola Saad in remaking some of her old hits, such as "Yana Yana". The accompanying video, in which Sabah is shown as "the notorious diva" to whom her younger colleague pays tribute, has received wide play on Arabic music channels. Sabah was hosted on the TV show Akher Man Yalam on 31 May 2010. In the 2011 edition of the Beiteddine Art Festival, a show retracing the journey of Sabah as a singer and movie star was performed. In the title role, Rouwaida Attieh shared the stage with more than 40 singers and dancers to honor her works.
Constant rumors involving Sabah's death had circulated days before she died. Amused by the rumors, Sabah said, "Even in my death, I'm making people busy."
Sabah died on 26 November 2014, around 3:00 am, sixteen days after her 87th birthday, in her home at Hotel Brazilia from unspecified reasons. Clauda Akl, the daughter of her famous sister, actress Lamia Feghaly, published the sad news on her web page at around 6:45 am, saying that Sabah wished before dying that people would dance the Dabkeh at her funeral, should not feel sad because she went to a better place, and should keep listening to her songs and always be happy no matter what, in the same way that Sabah always gave happiness to people. Sabah said: “I've lived enough”. After her death, her hairdresser Joseph Gharib said in an interview that during her last days, Sabah loved to wear red lipstick. She considered Joseph Gharib her son and he considered her mother, during her death he was in Paris, for job reasons. Once he heard the news of Sabah's death he took the first flight back to Beirut. He said that people started posting fake or edited picture of Sabah dead, he described her as pink as a rose and she was cute.
On Sunday 30 November 2014, four days after Sabah's death, hundreds of thousands of people covered the streets to bid her respect and farewell. Her family, Lebanese officials, as well as many Arab delegates packed into St. George Cathedral in downtown Beirut to say farewell to the famed singer, actress, and entertainer. The daylong proceedings took on a festive air as the crowds celebrated Sabah's taboo-breaking six-decade-long career. The commander of the Lebanese Army gave his orders and consequently the official army band played the national anthem followed by many other songs for the most famous late Diva at the street outside the St. George cathedral for the first time in the country's history, where fans clapped and sang their favorite Sabah songs accordingly. A troupe of dancers in traditional dress performed to the diva's music playing from loudspeakers. "I will call it a celebration and not a funeral," said Lebanese actress Ward El-Khal. "We feel today that we came here to share her feelings and to remember her. We will miss her."
For the funeral mass, Sabah's flag-draped coffin stood near the altar with a giant picture of the singer as a younger woman with her signature ultra-voluminous peroxide-blond hair. After the service, mourners carried the casket aloft to a hearse waiting outside while people clapped, threw flowers and reached out to touch it and take photographs. Sabah's body was carried through many towns to the church of her hometown of Bdadoun, where she was buried.
Al Shahrourah, a TV drama based on her life, aired during Ramadan 2011. She was portrayed by actress/singer Carole Samaha. Sabah's reaction was mostly positive towards the series and she was happy that it was a success, though she commented about certain inaccuracies, such as the depiction of her father as wearing traditional Lebanese garb. 
Awards and legacy
Sabah received many awards and honors during her lengthy career. Recent examples include:
- She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dubai International Film Festival.
- She was honored by the Egyptian cinema in Cairo.
- She was honored in Beirut with a statue.
- She was honored by the Lebanese Republic many times, e.g. by receiving the National Order of the Cedar medal.
- A museum is being built in her village Bdadoun, which will contain her private letters, dresses, wardrobe accessories, rare old photographs of her and other memorabilia.
- Her music is being taught in music classes in Lebanon.
- She was honored by the Lebanese cinema and stage as well as Lebanese composers.
- Months before she died, the Lebanese journalist Rima Njeim hosted a TV episode honoring her, which aired live on MTV Lebanon.
- On 10 November 2017, Google celebrated her 90th birthday with a Google Doodle.
In 2015, graffiti artists Halwani and the brothers Omar and Mohammad Kabbani commemorated Sabah in monumental murals on the sides of buildings in Beirut, paying tribute to the way she defied gender-based and other social taboos, challenging Lebanon's culture of sectarianism, and providing an alternative to images of political leaders and their sloganeering.
- Iyam El Loulou written by Karim Abou Chakra (As well as Nousi Nousi a play written and directed by Karim Abou Chakra)
- Kanat Ayyam (1970)
- Nar el shawk (1970)
- Easabat Al'nisa (1969)
- Mawal (1966)
- El Aydi el naema (1963) aka Soft Hands
- El Motamarreda (1963)
- Jaoz marti aka my wife's husband (1961)
- El Rajul el thani (1960)
- El Ataba el khadra (1959)
- Sharia el hub (1958)
- Salem al habaieb (1958)
- Izhay ansak (1956)
- Wahabtak hayati (1956)
- Khatafa mirati (1954)
- Lahn hubi (1953)
- Zalamuni el habaieb (1953)
- Khadaini abi (1951)
- Ana Satuta (1950)
- Sabah el khare aka good morning (1948)
- Albi wa saifi(1947)
- lubnani fi al gamiaa (1947)
|Album Title||Song Title||Release Year|
|Laish Bitizaal, Laish Bitghar|
|Lubnan Al-dini Killa|
|Ghani ma Sabah||1957|
|Khabbi Ounak Khabbiha|
|Miqaddar Min Allah|
|Mawsam Al Ez (Musical theatre)||"Sabah, wadih al safi, nasri shamseldi"||1960|
|Ain Al rumman (Musical theatre)||"Sabah, Wadih Al Safi, Felemon wehbi, Soad Hashim"||1960|
|Jeeb el Mejwez|
|Ahla bi Hattali|
|Sabah in ASh-Shallal ( Film )||1964|
|Shams Al Shammous||1966|
|Ya Beit Eddine|
|Men El Sham Li Beirut|
|Sheftou Bel Anater|
|Al Warka khartasht shway|
|Dabkeh men hal wadeh|
|Atshana ya sabaya|
|Dawalib Al Hawa||1966|
|Ya Fahd Al abour|
|Ghani ya Monjaira ( Composed by Felemon Wehbi )|
|Haida al qasab ya asmar|
|Ahla w sahla ya samar|
|Ya rait La|
|Ajebkom Ya Ghahd Al abour|
|Sahia ya Jama'a|
|Atba ala atba ( Composed by Felemon wehbi )|
|wa han ya jama'a|
|Tir ya doulab el hawa|
|Ya bizrati aib alaiki|
|Yam al zinnar|
|Shou ya Fahd|
|Ya houmoum al ahali|
|Sabah Vol. 1||1967|
|Jary Ya jary|
|Ataba w Maana|
|Bayyaa al tiffah|
|Lizz El Koursi|
|Al Yadi El Yadi|
|Helweh w mamshouka|
|Abou El Zolof|
|Ya Aziz Aini|
|Ya Bou El darawish|
|Ahla w sahla w marhaba||1972|
|Yeslam lana loubnan|
|Ahla Bhal talli ahla|
|Mijana w ataba|
|Layla w layla|
|Addabke Oumu Addabki|
|A loubnan Lakouna|
|Loubnan el dini kella|
|Hob Omr Jedid|
|Trkni men azabak|
|Tir Ajnah el Hawa (Mawal)|
|Josi ma Bielfi|
|Dekt El Murr (Mawal)|
|Sabah in "Sit el kol" (Musical theatre)||1974|
|Abnou el kousour|
|Jani wa talb al sabah|
|Dakhlak La Toualikani (t3ale2ni)|
|aini ya aini|
|Ya dalaa Dallaa|
|wakayamhou dab tiyabi|
|al hawbar al haybar|
|zakfi ya chabab|
|Sabah in "Helwe Ktir" (Musical theatre)||1975|
|Marhaba ya habayeb|
|Kahil El Eyn|
|Rouhi Ya sayfiyye|
|Sabah in Paris||1976|
|Saide Leyletna Saide|
|Zaafe Zaafe ya chabab|
|Dek el kaf|
|Ya Dalaa dallaa|
|La ou La|
|Sabah in Shahr el Asal Vol.1 ( Comedy Theater )||1977|
|Hiwar ya shabab|
|Hiwar Bhebak ya Sa3ti|
|Wehyatak 3al Ghali|
|Sharfi wa Ordi|
|Sabah in Shahr el Asal Vol.2 ( Comedy Theater )||1977|
|Ahna Beit El Marhoum|
|Chou Ya Dalaa|
|Ya lebnan Dakhl Trabak|
|Zay El Amar|
|Alouli El hob Biyenbaa|
|Rouh Tjawaz ya abdo|
|Ya Habibi ya hayati|
|Lama a Tarik El Eyn|
|La ou La|
|Sabah – 10 Annees de succes||1978|
|Ah Ya Dini|
|Ali ya Ali|
|3al Nadda Nadda|
|Wassaltina Lnoss Lbeir|
|Ghaltan Bel Nomra|
- "الشحرورة صباح توارى الثرى في الضيعة", Skynews Arabia
- Aïssa Djermouni, Algerian singer of Berber origin, performed at the Olympia in Paris in 1937; the Egyptian Umm Kulthum did it when she was 22 years of age
- "Presence des musiques arabes en France : Immigrations, diasporas et musiques du monde" (PDF). Revues-plurielles.org. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- ydha001 (19 June 2015). "Who is Najat Al Saghira? | najatalsaghira". Najatalsaghira.wordpress.com. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "Remembering Sabah, An Iconic And Thoroughly Unconventional Arab Star". NPR. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- Tsioulcas, Anastasia (26 November 2014). "Remembering Sabah, An Iconic And Thoroughly Unconventional Arab Star". NPR. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
- "Sabah – obituary". 1 December 2014. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- Diaa Hadid. "Sabah: Singer and actress who recorded more than 3,000 songs but whose lifestyle scandalised the Middle East". The Independent. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "Legendary Sabah – Prestige Magazine". Prestigemag.co. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "Sabah, Lebanese singing legend, dies aged 87". BBC. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
- "Thousands bid farewell to Lebanese diva Sabah | News , Lebanon News". The Daily Star. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "myTV – Al Shahroura". My-tv.us. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "El Shahroura". IMDb. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "Dubai International Film Festival". Dubaifilmfest.com. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- Mike Sabbagh (18 August 2004). "Yahoo! Groups". Yahoo!. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "Sabah's 90th Birthday". Google. 10 November 2017.
- Sinno, Nadine (9 March 2017). "A War of Colors: Beirut Street Art and the Reclamation of Public Space". ASAP/Journal. 2 (1): 71–104. doi:10.1353/asa.2017.0017. ISSN 2381-4721.
- "Retrospective of Sabah's work at Dubai film fest – Emirates 24|7". Emirates247.com. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "Sabah Discography at Discogs". discogs. Retrieved 6 July 2017.