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After Oum Kalthoum, Fairuz is possibly the Arab world's best-known singer. Unabashedly modern, Fairuz embraced all forms of music -- orchestral, European, and traditional Arabic -- and achieved a stylistic balance (underscored by her amazing voice) that spoke to millions. Though she was born in Beirut, Fairuz and her songwriting team, the Rahbani brothers, understood the importance of village folk music in the lives of the newly burgeoning urban population in the 1950s and '60s. She often sang of village life and romantic love and recorded lesser-known folk songs. Amazingly, Fairuz decided to stay in Lebanon throughout the civil war, though she seldom performed for political reasons. In 1994 she gave a well-received concert and returned to the world stage.

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