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Legendary Arab singer, Sabah Fakhri, dies at 88

Sabah Fakhri, the famous Syrian singer, holds an award in Damascus, on June. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)
Sabah Fakhri, the famous Syrian singer, holds an award in Damascus, on June. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi)

BEIRUT — One of the Arab world’s most famous singers, Sabah Fakhri, who has entertained generations with traditional songs and preserved extinct forms of Arabic music, has died at age 88, says Syria’s government.

It was not immediately clear what caused Fakhri’s passing.

Born Sabah Abu Qaws in the Syrian city of Aleppo in 1933, Fakhri got his stage name as an adolescent when he started performing. He soon rose to fame to become one of the Arab world’s legendary tenors and one of its exceptionally charismatic entertainers.

Fakhri was a world class Tarab singer, an Arabic form of music associated with emotional evocation that could last for hours. Onstage, Fakhri would engage the audience and sway to the music almost in a trance, turning the lyrics of his songs, often in classical Arabic, into refrains they can easily sing back with him.

He once performed for 10 hours straight in a 1968 concert in Caracas, Venezuela, without a single break, earning an entry in the Guinness World Records.

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