Everything You Need To Know About Nabil Harfouch: The Newest Lebanese Singing Sensation

You’ve seen the billboards all over the highway. They sort of came out of nowhere, didn’t they? The latest pop sensation to overtake the country, if you don’t account for Sejaan Azzi’s dismissal from the Kataeb party, is an 80’s influenced, mustache-heavy man who’s throwing it back to the when the overbearing Lebanese father figure was in.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about the one and only Nabil Harfouch, whose “albo” is making every other “alb” in this country swoon.

Nabil harfouch

Never mind the fact that, according to twitter user @TawaNicolas, the song might be remixed to the following once they break up:

Nabil Harfouch 2

No, we are facing a serious work of art the likes of which the Lebanese republic has not witnessed since Fairuz released “Kifak Enta” back when songs had a purpose.

Please note the Cross on Nabil Harfouch’s wrist. This is a pious man, whose religiosity plays a very big reason in him becoming so “in” right now. After all, who dares not buy this man’s singles when Jesus is on his side?

In fact, Nabil Harfouch’s religion could be the exact reason why he is all over our highways today. But before we delve into the juicy details of Harfouch’s past, ones that rival Haifa Wehbe’s Hezbollah affiliated days, let us rewind.

A few years ago, Nabil Harfouch was just another middle-aged man who woke up one day and remembered he had a dream. You see, Martin Luther King had a dream, but so did Nabil. So he released a song in his attempt to become the next Ragheb Alama.

That song, titled “Touwsayeh,” was Nabil Harfouch’s combination of his two biggest passions in life: Women and God. In the song, he claims that God ordered his love interest specifically made for him. The magnum opus can be listened to below:

Almost 4 years later, and only 1200 hits on YouTube later, it’s safe to say the song did not take off. At all. So Mr. Harfouch realized that the best way to make it big in the showbiz business was to have lots of money and spend it on branding.

But where does a helpless hopeless pious man like Mr. Harfouch get all the money? Lightbulb! Religion, of course.

As reported by Rima Karaki last year (link), and as has surfaced on Facebook, Mr. Harfouch, along with his futuristic and pioneering lyricist Naji Sfeir, created a charity that they named after St. Rita which, for years, took money out of religious people’s pockets for a variety of religious reasons, such as investments and projects for Mr. Harfouch and Mr. Sfeir. The Maronite Church eventually caught up and closed down the charity, but not before the duo had made millions, reportedly.

So what does a Lebanese nouveau riche do? Buy yachts? Iftar at the Four Seasons? An apartment in Burj Hammoud? Nope! You start a singing career, of course. Or rather, restart it.

So, instilling a photoshop team from 2003, Harfouch and Sfeir decided they would take the country by storm. And hence came to be… “Dalli D7aki” (Keep Smiling), a song for Mother’s Day.

They filled our streets with the song’s billboards. They inundated our visual fields with their stellar works of art. The song, however, remained quite elusive, and the question remained: what would Mr. Harfouch’s mother do? Not listen to the song would be my top bet.

This song being extremely occasion specific couldn’t make a dent for Mr. Harfouch in the artistic domain. So he decided to go back to the drawing board. He figured people wouldn’t remember two failed attempts, so let’s plan for a summery comeback, one that would be with a bang. This time, the bang was in the hair because Mr. Harfouch got implants.

And here came to be Ya Albi, a song about Mr. Harfouch’s heart. While driving to Beirut from the North (#TeamNorth) yesterday, I decided to see where Harfouch had released the song. Like all the greats, he gave Anghami the exclusive.

“Ya Albi” has been on the region’s prime streaming service for weeks now, and has only amassed a couple thousand streams. Not to brag, but if I taped my cousin Yasmina blabbing, she would get more streams than that.

My friends and I wondered why a song that has taken up every single visual field point of our streets would fail to resonate this massively. Could it be that the song just sucked? The only way to know was to listen to it. So we did.

It started.

Albi, Ya albi
Albi albi albi, Ya albi

Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Wlak Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

I’m not sure if any of you counted, but the opening lyrics of the song is nothing more than Nabil Harfouch wailing about his heart, 21 times to be exact. And then came in the first verse:

Albi ma7rou2 w mekwi
Darbetou akbar berhan

Dammak mech 3am temchi
3el2ane bi noss el sheryan

This is pure medical knowledge right there. For the few seconds in which those lyrics reverberated off my speakers and onto my ear ossicles, I felt a rush of cardiology take over me. Can anyone else even?

At this point, popular request was to stop the song and listen to anything else instead, even Maya Diab. But we persevered:

Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Ya albi chou sayer fik
Wa7dak b rou7e tsawik

Ya albi chou sayir feek

Rou7e enta
3omre enta
Rou7e enta
3omre enta
rou7e enta wou 3omre enta
rou7e enta wou 3omre enta

Ana 3ayesh dayib fik

In case you’re keeping count, we’re up to 34 “albi”s at this point. I won’t bother counting “rou7e” and “3omre” because why bother.

Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Wlek albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Ya seken bi 2akhe
Jra7ak Jra7e

Dawahon ya rou7e
Dawahon ya rou7e

Dawahon ya rou7e

Dawahon ya rou7e

Dawahon ya rou7e

Teskon fike
w eskon fiyye

Rou7e enta
3omre enta
Rou7e enta
3omre enta
Rou7e enta
3omre enta

Rou7e enta
3omre enta
Rou7e enta
3omre enta

Ana 3ayesh dayeb fik

Albi albi albi, ya albi
Albi albi albi, ya albi

Albi ya albi

I have this feeling that, when done writing and recording, the duo behind this song couldn’t help but have a *mic drop* moment.

I, on the other hand, took a few moments to collect my jaw off the floor of my car, take my hands and pat my bleeding ears. Yes, Lebanon has a new singing sensation. And honestly, I can’t wait for when she dumps him.

Santa Muerte Shrine To Open in Lebanon

Following the outrage of some Lebanese that other Lebanese were outraged at a possible shirtgate involving demonizing a Virgin Mary icon are not aware of well-rooted Mexican folklore, the Mexican embassy, in collaboration with the Lebanese government, will be building a Santa Muerte shrine in the village of DeirBella.

Issuing a brief statement on the matter, the Mexican embassy noted the “overwhelming support” their not-recognized saint has gotten over the past few hours in Lebanon. They were “absolutely dumbfounded” by the well-rooted knowledge of Santa Muerte among the Lebanese populace whereby everyone seems to be quite the expert. “We didn’t know Santa Muerte had so many fans in Lebanon,” they said, “this makes us quite excited about possible culture fusion between the countries.” The embassy was also quite “enthusiastic” about the culture fusion prospect in Lebanese society, à la St. Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving.

“It shouldn’t be exclusive to the Irish and the Americans, now should it?” They said.

A date to celebrate the Day of the Dead is still being debated. They’re not sure if it fits with all the Halloween parties that will take place on October 31st.

The Lebanese government, on the other hand, sees this step as another confirmation of the deep ties between Lebanon and Mexico where a sizable expat population could be found. They find the building of the Santa Muerte shrine will strengthen the relation between the two countries, giving both expats and Lebanese residents a taste of Mexican lore. The government noted the choice of location as somewhere that has a Spanish flare in its name so Santa Muerte feels right at home.

Seeing as Santa Muerte is not recognized by both the Catholic Church and the Mexican Catholic Church, both governments have teamed up with country-gone-pop singer Taylor Swift in order to record an anthem taking a jab at the inadequacy of the Catholic Church and the ignorance of those who don’t know Santa Muerte outside of its natural habitat. The initial leaked lyrics read the following:

I remember when Pope Francis was elected, last month
We said this is it, now’s our shot
Cause like he wasn’t wearing a fancy robe
When he waved his one Argentinian hand
Then he came around again and said
Minions, Santa Muerte will not be recognized ever
And all of you have to deal with it
God Bless those who don’t know it exists.

Oh, Santa Muerte called me up last night and said
The Catholic Church and I are never ever ever getting together
We are never ever ever getting together
They can talk to their minions, talk to their friends, talk to me
But the Catholic Church and I are never ever ever getting together
Like, ever!

We are not entirely sure about the hit potential of the above song but rumor has it Najwa Karam was enlisted to write the accomagnying Arabic version. Her latest tweets have all been of the anthem’s possible lyrics: “Albi fata7, seret shouf, Santa Muerte ejet.”

Meanwhile, research is underway at the American University of Beirut between psychologist Thomas Renecamp and philosopher Patrick Henderson. This rare collaboration between these often-diverging sciences is centered around the peculiar reaction that was observed following ShirtGate whereby Lebanese people established a duality of freedom of expression. They are trying to understand the dynamics behind calling other people ignorant and condescending because of a simple disagreement of opinion. “Freedom of expression seems to go only one way only in Lebanon,” Henderson said. “If your opinion isn’t that of the cool people, then your opinion is automatically relegated to something subpar compared to the other self-proclaimed wise men and women.”

They are also working on a hierarchy of ignorance whereby different levels of the entity will be categorized as they have found the term to be thrown around very loosely.
“Not sure if an English word or a prostitute,” professor Renecamp was heard saying in typical German candidness.

If you feel like participating in their research, you can email TR8656@aub.edu.lb and PH7.13@aub.edu.lb.

The Maronite and Catholic Churches in Lebanon have yet to take any measures due to the Patriarch being on a European road trip for the next month and a half.
The shrine in question is set to open on April 31st, 2013.