Mansour Al Rahbani recently passed away at the age of 83, in the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Beirut, where he was admitted for pulmonary trouble.
Rahbani was born in the Lebanese coastal town of Antelias in 1925. He, his elder brother Assi, and his brother’s wife Fairuz, produced their first album as a trio in 1955 and eventually became the most famous trio in Arabic music. They performed around the world and also produced three films and eighteen plays!
The trio were considered pioneers of Lebanese folk music and were highly regarded in their homeland and internationally. They were especially beloved by the Lebanese diaspora, and once played a sold-out show at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Their work drew from various musical sources and styles, including traditional Arabic music, and Islamic, Byzantine, Christian Maronite and classical Western styles of music.
The two Rahbani brothers came from a background of poverty and destitution, and their dramatic works emphasized socio-political themes, without sacrificing the quality of the music itself.