Walid Tawfik is one of the greatest singers of the Arab world. He is one who spent most of his life fighting for protecting the genuine Arab song and stayed away from trivial singing. He surfaced during the rich period of the Arab song ...

By Rafat Fawzi

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Published: Thu 15 Jul 2004, 1:56 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:46 AM

where the arena was full of great singerssuch as Um Kalthoum, Farid and Abd El Wahab besides his ideal Abdel Halim Hafez.

Born in Tripoli, Lebanon Walid Tawfik's family was very keen on educating him. They also discovered that their young boy has musical talents, therefore the family sent him to Professor Amin Azar who was his lute teacher and was the one who taught him the principles of the lute. He talks to City Times about his life, music and much more.

Who supported you in your journey?

My family played a very important role in my life. My family was not rich enough to give me the chance to study music academically but they encouraged me very much. Besides my study, I worked and earned money, which gave me the chance to study music academically.

How was your journey to the world of Arabic singing?

The road to stardom and singing was not easy but then life is full of ups and downs and I believed in my talent. I started by taking part in wedding parties and sang in most of my relatives' parties that attracted the people to my talent. Most of my well wishers in my town advised me to join studio Al Phan's music contest. Studio Al Phan is the launch pad of the stars in Lebanon and it was my first shot at stardom.

What were the reactions of the judging committee at Studio Al Phan?

The song that I sang in the contest was Ayoun Bhaya, which is a famous song of Egyptian singer Mohamed Al Azby. I performed it perfectly and I was admired by the judges and the critics, which led me to win the gold medal.

How did you join the celluloid world. Did your good looks play any part in it?

To be frank one of the pre-requisite to join films is that the hero should be good looking and Al Hamdullelah (thank god) I had this factor. But again, cinema never depends only on good looks, one should have the talent and I liked cinema which helped me to perform my roles well. I had my success in singing, which helped me to gain fame very fast, which led me to star in over twelve films.

How was the reaction of the stars that shared you the starring of films?

I worked with most of the Egyptian and Arab world stars in my films and honestly they welcomed me and they dealt with me as a professional actor not as a singer. I worked in various films with different actors for instance the great Egyptian actor Farid Shawky, Huda Sultan, Mariam Fakhrudin, Madieha Youssri, Samir Ghanem besides Saeed Saleh, Raghda, Athar Al Hakim etc.

How many songs have you sung till now?

I have more than six hundred songs

Who were you most influenced by?

I was really affected by the great singer Abd El Halim Hafez and his feelings when he was singing but also I really learnt from the other singers and musicians specially Abd El Wahab, Mohamed Abd El Mutalab. I was really impressed with great singers and musicians. Whenever I'm with them I feel as if I am in gardens full of roses and I pick the best flower from them. But composer Baligh Hamdy had a great effect on me as he composed for me lot of songs which contributed to my fame.

What is your opinion in the state of singing these days and do you think is there a crisis?

Art and song are a part of community behaviour and singing in the Arab world is really in a crisis as lots of 'semi singers' have appeared and satellite channels gave them immense publicity which has led to the withdrawal of most of the genuine singers.

I really blame the producing companies which have contributed in spreading such mediocrity. Previously, in each Arab country there was one radio and one TV station, the production companies were owned by artists but nowadays everything has been changed to what we see now. Satellites and production companies have played a very important role in spoiling the tastes of the people.

On the other hand there are lots still appreciating the genuine song or we would not have seen or heard ones like Hani Shaker, George Wassouf, Kadhemm Al Saher Assala and others.

What is your opinion on the promising youngsters?

I like the voice of Wael Kafoury and I consider him a star. He has a very prominent voice and there are lots of other voices such as Shirin and others.

What about your relationship with your colleagues in the art milieu?

I really have a good relation with all of the artistes the closest to me is George Wassouf. There are others too who are close to me like Ali Al Hajar, Melham Barakat, Najwa Karam.

Are you affected by Western music and are you looking for globalisation for your songs?

See when I started, I learnt a eastern musical instrument which is the lute, which meant I liked my music but we also respect the others but nowadays western mostly means loud music which is completely different to our music.

I am not looking for globalisation because when the western singers sang they did so in their language. They didn't force us to listen to them which means that each one should respect his traditions and customs and just do his best in his song which will be in his language. Only then will people all over the world will respect him.

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