Bar Farouk revives the artistic scene of Beirut from the 30s to the 70s, from popular theatre to cabaret music and dance, through the works of icons who have marked the art scene before the civil war, such as Chouchou, Sabah, Ferial Karim and the poet Omar El Zeenni, amongst many.
11 musicians, singers, actors and dancers bring you back to this golden era where Beirut was at the avant-garde of the cultural and artistic life in the Middle-East.
Directed by Hisham Jaber
This song invites the viewers to take a look at what was happening around Beirut in the 40’s and 50’s. The lyrics briefly describe how money was spent carelessly at the gold market “foot btotla’mantoof – go to the market and you’ll leave completely broke”, and how everything could be found in Beirut like Tarab music and belly dancers. This song introduces the characters of the show, from the strong macho men, the goofy sailors, to the beautiful and opinionated women…
Masharib is a Mawwal, which is usually a type of vocal introduction to a song. In this case, Masharib is more or less used as an introduction to the whole show by setting the general mood. The vocalist cites different kinds of beverages previously and currently consumed in Beirut such as beer, date syrup and arak… Hookah and Hashish are mentioned amusingly as a relaxant for those who have heavy weight on their shoulders.
This song is considered to be one of the famous old arabic stanzas . It talks about cups being filled with spiritual drinks by a beautiful lady who is watering the writer of this stanza.It describes the lady and how euphoric the setting is .
This song is originally sung by Sabah, a musical icon in Lebanon. It adds a jolly feel to the show as its lyrics revolve around a woman advising her lover to let go of life’s troubles because she is in love with him.
This song describes a Lebanese stud of the era; strong, arrogant, vulgar, drinking tea and smoking shisha all day at the café. The lyrics explain how this stud is protecting the whole neighborhood, the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the good and the bad…
This song was played in the movie Raqsat Al Wadaa’ in 1954 as the beautiful belly dancer and actress Samia Gamal moved to its tunes. It is mainly about complementing the beautiful woman by describing the way she moves and how she makes everyone happy when she dances.
Wadad was a very strong female figure and one of the first women to challenge men through her songs. In this song, she warns her lover that he will absolutely regret it if he ever hurt her. She threatens him in a way, saying that she will show a different face of hers if he ever hurt her feelings.
This song was originally sung by Fahed Ballan who was known to be a very manly performer. It talks about flying high in a jet plane next to the pilot, defying the wind and waving at the people down below.
This song explains the harsh truth about love, which is that love requires money. It is also about the silk dress, worn by the singer and how uncomfortable it makes her feel because it keeps moving with the wind.
This song is written and performed by Omar el Z’enni who was known to be the people’s poet. It revolves around the times of crisis in the world and especially in Lebanon, where people would complain and worry about the future yet keep the clubs and movie theaters busy and full.
This song is about the powerful women of Bar Farouk who claim that they are irreplaceable as they are in charge of everything, whether it’s raising the children or taking care of businesses.It narrates how women can take charge and be successful at it.
The great Lebanese artist Omar Zanni, was a critical popular poet, who singled out the sea and the sailors ’chants with his most beautiful songs, including this playful song (We Want Marines) which criticized the first head of state of Greater Lebanon, Charles Dabbas. After releasing the song, Omar was forced to leave his official job under political pressure, so he devoted himself entirely to artistic work. This song was passed to many generations and sung by famous singers in different versions
“Sayer” is a song and could be more of a word of advice to a man who’s unsure of his actions around women. The lyrics tell him not to take everything so seriously, to go easy on life, to enjoy chit-chats ,and to mingle with women.
The upbeat rhythm of the song represents the cheerful advice in the lyrics.
Farid El Atrach is one of Egypt’s most well-known and successful musicians and actors of his time. He is also known as “The King of Oud” . This song is a testament of admiration to a woman he loves. The lyrics are courteous yet very direct, telling the woman that she’s beautiful and that she can ask for whatever she desires.
This song is originally sang by Nour El Houda in 1952 and it is considered one of her most beautiful songs. The words and melody are described by people to be from another world. The lyrics invite a distant lover to embrace all the passion and feelings before the end of youth and the death of love.
Beirut is a recurring song in Bar Farouk, it is sung briefly a couple of times and then the third time all the artists sing it together. This song describes the city of Beirut back in the day where the common pleasures were just like those of today : Enjoy life, play card games, drink alcohol, and eat good food…
Taroub is a well-known singer who made her way to stardom by joining the duo “Jamal & Taroub”.
In this song, Taroub threatens to shoo away her pet bird. She claims to have cared for the bird for a long time but now it seems to be misbehaving. In a way, the bird is a metaphor for the man she loves and so she talks about letting him go if he ever breaks her heart.
In the seventies, while people were listening to the radio or television (black and white), the Lebanese singer Najah Salam appeared at people from the silver screen, singing her masterpiece (Barhoum Hakini) which Translates to Barhoum Talk to me . The music of this song is composed by the Great Lebanese artist Philemon Wehbi
19.Hawwel Ya Ghannam (Drop by, Shepherd!)
Originally performed by Najah Salam
This is one of Najah Salam’s most famous songs. It talks about a woman calling out to a shepherd walking by her house and asking him if he has seen her lover. She continues to talk about how good it feels to fall in love but also how bad it gets when the said lover disappears. A song about passionate love and longing.
This song is mainly about desire, the lyrics are addressed to a man asking him to surprise her in the dark. The words of the song are provocative, witty and not very common in Lebanese music; the woman asks her lover to turn off the lights, cover her eyes ,and unhook her brassiere.
Samir Yazbeck sings to his childhood lover in this song. As they grew older, promises were broken and she had forgotten all about him. He talks about how they were in love and how he would write her name everywhere in the neighborhood. And so he tells her to ask for him when she comes back so that she remembers their young love.
The singer is telling the rebab (a one string instrument – rababa in Arabic) to play and make music as an acknowledgement for those who’ve left him. He talks about how he has loved people in the past but eventually they ended up parting ways with time.
The singer dedicates “Sama Espania” to a woman he met and fell in love with in Spain, which explains why he keeps saying Viva España! He talks about her beautiful hair, her beautiful eyes, and how they would stare very passionately at each other under the Spanish sky. Towards the end of the song, he asks the woman to go back home with him and tells her about the wonders of his hometown and how it’s very similar to Spain, hoping they wouldn’t have to part.
“Lamma Bemshi ‘al Rasif” is a song about a woman walking down the sidewalk where everyone keeps staring at her. She sings about the men that she walks near and how they’re all fascinated by her. The fact that men look at her does not bother her, she mentions that she is a bit shy but says “whatever happens, happens”.
This song is about a young woman asking her grandmother for a love advice. She tells her about her unconditional love for the man that she’s going out with and asks her what she should wear for their upcoming rendez-vous.
Mohammad Jamal sings about falling madly in love. He talks to Um Hamada asking her to make him some coffee and tells her how he fell in love and how obvious it is to everyone around him.
In this song, Ferial Karim sings about how her lover is always enthusiastic and happy when he’s out but claims to be tired and exhausted whenever he returns back home.
“Habibi ya Eini” is a song dedicated to “Abu Samra”, a loved one. The lyrics celebrate the presence of this person and mention how when he’s away the singer misses him deeply but how when he’s around they’re all celebrating and dancing as if they were in heaven.
Chouchou was a Lebanese comedian, actor and singer, who wrote songs and plays.
“Shahhadin” is a political satire from the play “Akh Ya Baladna”, singing about how the country is poor and corrupted and about how people feel as if they were beggars all the time. The government is to blame for all of the problems in the country and the singers loudly say that the ministers, deputies, and politicians are all for sale!
Cast & Crew:
Yasmina Fayed: Vocals | Actress
Ziad el Ahmadie: Vocals | Oud | Actor
Bahaa Daou: Percussions | Vocals | Actor
Ziad Jaafar: Violins | Vocals | Actor
Asmaa Araychi: Vocals | Actress
Samah Boul Mona: Accordion | Vocals | Actor
Mohammad Assaf: Vocals | Actor
Randa Makhoul: Dancer | Vocals | Actress
Lina Sahab: Vocals | Actress
Ahmad Khateeb: Vocals | Actor
Oussama El Khateeb: Double Bass & Electric bass l Actor
Hisham Jaber: Concept & Artistic director
Ziad el Ahmadie: Music arrangement
Nadim Saoma: Visuals designer
Alaa Minawi: Light designer
Wissam Dalati: Costume designer
Lara Nassar: Sound engineer
Sarah Nohra: Production manager
Peter Fawaz: Assistant production
Farah Khoder: Sound technician
Iyad Cheikh: Light technician
Nour Abboud: Light operator
Bilal Imad: Stage technician
Lara Nohra: Marketing
Ali Rafei: Videography
Marjane Chatila: Social media
Georges Sawma: 3D artist
Carlo Moufarrej: 3D artist
Studio Kawakeb: Opening animation
Abed Chukri: Visuals operation
A Production of Metro Al Madina