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“Oh my heart” … Once upon a time a Karawan chanted

Karawan is a beautiful bird famous for its tweeting melody in Arabic literature. But our Karawan (1932, Latakia - 2001) was a Syrian female singer famous in the 1950s and 60s; her real name is Jamila Nassour. She was born in the Al-Haffah region in the governorate of Latakia.

Since her childhood, she enjoyed a beautiful voice, and memorized the songs of Leila Murad and Asmahan. She moved with her family to Damascus in the mid-forties of the twentieth century, and she joined the An-Najah Institute, singing at the institute's concerts.

In 1949, she participated in the children's program at Radio Damascus, and presented children's songs. In 1950, she entered Radio Damascus’s choir. In the same year Mustafa Hilal, the famous Syrian composer give her, her artistic name (Karawan). The radio station devoted half an hour solo singing weekly to her oldies songs.

In 1953, a new and important stage in her artistic career began, when the syrian composer, Adnan Quraysh, composed three songs for her: “Zain Yaba Zain”, “Dakhilou Rabak” and “Yaba w yaba” and then he composed for her “Shedda Al Hudj”. Here are some of her songs links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIUhy73DwJU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8YiGBHa-0g

In order to possess more professional singing tools; she joined Damascus Radio Musical Institute, where she learned to play the oud, musical notes, Muwashahat by the musician Yahya Al-Saudi, who composed for her “When I First Saw You”,  “The Beloved is inclined to flee” ,  “Oh my heart” and “The heart was empty.”

She also sang and performed the role “Your whole life, my heart", composed by Daoud Hosni.

She has recorded throughtout her long career many muwashahat and folkloric songs at Radio Damascus presented by Mustafa Hilal in his program “From the past ecstasy”.

In 1956, during the Tripartite Aggression against Egypt, she presented her patriotic song "Bara ... Bara" (Out … Out) composed by Naguib Al-Sarraj and repeated for a long time by masses.

At the end of this year, Carawan traveled to the United States of America to undergo a nose surgery. She stayed there for five years, during which she held many concerts for Arab expatriates and students there.

In 1962, Karawan returned to Damascus, to begin a new phase of her career. She recorded more songs for Damascus Radio, participated in many concerts, and continued to give her best until her departure in 2001.

Karawan sang more than five hundred songs, which included the muwashah, roles, qasida, monologues and folk songs, which have been composed by great Syrian composers, including Adnan Quraish, Mustafa Hilal, Rafiq Shukri, Najeeb Al-Sarraj, Abdul-Ghani Al-Sheikh, Salim Sarwa, Majdi Al-Aqili, Muhammad Mohsen, Ibrahim Jawdat and others ...

In our today’s Syrian beautiful Karawans are needed, not only to enrich the Syrian cultural scene with the beauty of their angelic voices but as well to relieve our tortured souls.

Report: Lama Alhassanieh

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