World Music - Stars Over Lebanon



Aref Hijjawi presents the first in a series of four programmes about the musical life of Beirut.

For decades Beirut was the thriving centre for Arabic music-making, and Beirut's singers became stars in the Arab world.

Then came the conflict, and although Lebanon is still technically at war, Beirut has enjoyed a few years of peace, and music is flourishing again.

Aref Hijjawi meets some of Beirut's star performers who are again thrilling audiences with some of the world's most exciting and seductive music.


Aref Hijjawi presents a portrait of the Arab world's greatest singing star, Fairuz.

Trained in the traditions of Arab classical singing, she married a composer whose songs combined classical styles and Western influences and brought her international fame in the 1950s.

Her decision to stay in Beirut during the years of the civil war made her a national heroine.


Aref Hijawi meets Fadia El-Hage, whose singing career embraces music from both eastern and western traditions, and Ziad Bhoutros, whose songs of resistance are popular across the Arab world.


In the last of the series, Aref Hijiawi meets singer Walid Toufic, who devotes much of his time to patriotic causes in Lebanon but whose popularity extends across the Arab world.