About the Composers

The Rahbani Brothers were Assi Rahbani and Mansour Rahbani. They grew up in Antelias, Lebanon in the 1920s. Poverty shaped their lives as children, according to one account, resulting in their father playing the oud in local restaurants in order to make ends meet.

While working as policemen in Lebanon, they studied both Eastern and Western music during their time off. After beginning work at the Lebanese Radio Station, they shared some of their musical compositions with members of the station’s staff. As a result of this effort, their musical talents were recognized and sought after at the station.

The brothers were introduced to Nouhad Haddad—later known as Fairuz—at the radio station in 1951. The meeting led to years of artistic collaboration between the three, in which Fairuz sang the songs that were written and composed by the Rahbani Brothers. Over the next 3 decades, the trio produced numerous songs together and enjoyed a great deal of success as artists in Lebanon and throughout the Arab world. Their body of work is marked by innovative approaches to music-making such as the incorporation of rumba, foxtrot, and bossa nova elements into traditional Arab music-based compositions and the manipulation of traditional Arab poetic forms into a style resonating more with the Arab society in which they lived.

In addition to producing hundreds of songs, the Rahbani Brothers also wrote more than twenty musical-theatrical works, many of which depicted Lebanese village life and portrayed historical Arab characters. Several of the theatrical works were critically acclaimed, and one—The Ring Seller—was adapted to screen by Egyptian film director, Youssef Chahine.

Assi Rahbani died in 1986 and Mansour Rahbani died in 2009.