Melodies of the Soul: Exploring the Musical Journey of Melhem Barakat

Saurav Singh

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Melhem Barakat (15 August 1945 – 28 October 2016), also known as Melhim Barakat or Abou Majd, was a highly regarded Lebanese singer, songwriter, and composer whose influence reached across Lebanon and the broader Arab world. He achieved significant recognition for his musical talents and performed extensively in various countries including Australia, South America, Canada, and the United States.

Life and Career

Born on 15 August 1945 in Kfarshima, Lebanon, Barakat’s passion for music was inherited from his father, who was a carpenter and taught him to play the oud, a traditional stringed instrument. At the age of 18, Barakat made the decision to drop out of school and secretly enroll in the National Institute of Music. There, he delved into music theory, Solfège, and Eastern singing. After four years, he heeded the advice of Philemon Wehbe and left the institute to embark on his professional musical career.

Barakat’s musical journey began in the 1960s, during which he participated both as a singer and actor in various musicals and operettas created by the Rahbani brothers. However, in 1968, he decided to go solo and pursue his own artistic path. Throughout the 1990s, Melhem Barakat gained significant popularity with hits like “Habibi Enta,” a song that was later performed by his former wife, May Hariri. He also collaborated with prominent artists such as Najwa Karam, Karol Sakr, Shatha Hassoun, and Majida El Roumi.

His musical style was distinctive and influential. Barakat composed music not only for himself but also for renowned Arab singers of the past century, including Sabah, Samira Tewfik, Wadih El Safi, and Majida El Roumi. His energetic songs often blended classical music with his unique improvisational touch.

Award and Legacy

Melhem Barakat’s contributions to the world of music, his impactful performances, and his ability to connect with audiences across cultures have left a lasting legacy. His work continues to inspire and resonate with listeners, ensuring that his memory lives on in the hearts of music enthusiasts. On 15 August 2021, a Google Doodle was created to celebrate Melhem Barakat’s 76th Birthday.