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How Kazem Al Saher Incorporated Nizar Qabbani's Poetry into Arabic Music

posted on: Dec 7, 2020

By: Ala Abed-Rabbo/Arab America Contributing Writer

If you study Arabic or are an Arab, chances are, you know who Nizar Qabbani is. The famous poet is known for his poems about love. Although Qabbani has passed away, his poetry is still famous, with many people paying tributes to his legacy. One of these people is Kazem Al Sahir, who puts Qabbani’s poetry into his music.

Who is/was Kazem Al Sahir and Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani

How did Kazem Al Saher incorporate Nizar Qabbani’s poetry into modern Arabic music? Born on September 12, 1957, Kadim Jabbar Al Samarai, also known by his stage name Kazem Al Saher, is an Iraqi singer, songwriter, and composer. In the Arab world’s history, he has become one of the most well-known singers.

Kazem Al Saher is an Arab legend. More than 100 million albums were sold throughout his thirty-plus years’ career. Also, he has performed live for millions of people around the world. Kazem grew up driven by enthusiasm for creativity. After exploring numerous forms of art, including molding, painting, sketching, fashion, poetry, and more, he opted to focus on music.

He is known as the writer of woman, romance and flirting.

Moreover, born on March 21, 1923, Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani, was a Syrian poet, diplomat, and publisher. His poetic style mixes simplicity and grace in defining themes of Arab patriotism, love, feminism, and religion.

In the Arab world, Nizar is one of the most significant, ongoing, passionate, and famous love poets. He is known as the writer of woman, romance and flirting. Many of his poems expressed the issues of women’s liberty.

Kazem Al Saher’s Beginning Journey

“Before he died in 1998, famed Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani said of Iraqi singer and composer Kazem al-Saher, ‘I finally found a person who can hug my poems.'” Al Saher, in 1989, released a song called “Obart Al Shat,” (I Crossed the Ocean). It was his breakthrough song. After his remarkable performance of this song, included in the album, he left for Kuwait and then to Beirut, Lebanon.

During Al-Saher’s stay in Beirut, he worked with Nizar Qabbani, and many of his songs are in Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic. Al Saher incorporated various of Qabbani’s poems and composed them into songs. Nizar wrote “Zidini Ishkan,” (Love me Even More) for Kazem to perform.

During the 1970s, were some of Qabbani’s most extremely controversial pieces that included Qasa’id Mutawahishe (Riotous Poems), and Ash’ar Kharija An al-Qanun (Antisocial Poems). One of his most-selling poems, Ashadu an la Imraatan Illa Ante, that translates to “I Swear That There is no Woman but You,” was performed by Al Saher.

Al Saher’s Music Inspirations

Al Saher often draws his muse in music from Qabbani’s poetry, as both worked together. Qabbani gave parts his poetry sets to Al Sahir. Some songs that integrate Al Qabbani’s poetry incorporate “Madrasat Al Hob,” (The School of Love) and “El Hob El Mostaheel,” (The Impossible Love).

According to Al Saher, Nizar Qabbani was one of the critical poetic writers who influenced him when he was a child. When he was at the age of 14, he recalls reading his poems joyfully. Kazem’s pieces of work re-defined Arabic music through his compositions of Arabic poetry, notably that of famous Syrian romantic poet Nizar Qabbani who named him “The Caesar of Arabic music.”

Click here to read the poem, ‘El Hob El Mostaheel,’ (The Impossible Love).

Kazem Al Saher Mixes Nizar Qabbani’s Poetry

For more than twenty years, the blend work of Nizar and Kazem is ongoing. One of the winning songs, “Eid al Ashaq,” (Valentine Day), combined the lyrics by Qabbani and performance by Al Saher and Arabic music today.

Moreover, Qabbani admired by generations of Arabs for his love-themed poetry. His work presented in the two dozen volumes of poetry but also in lyrics sung by Al Saher, who helped enlighten his masterpieces.

Nizar Qabbani’s Work Always Remembered

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Qabbani’s poems of the old tradition of Arabic love poetry continue with popularity until this day. The verses modernized with contemporary experience and echo the rhythms, pitches, and expressions of everyday language. His theme of romantic poems is the main source of hope that the people can surpass pain and fear and provoke to defend their competence towards summon happiness and engage passion.

It sweeps away the traditional shame of a woman’s physical desire.

Also, his poems brought freedom from conflict, liberty from despair, an uplifting delivery of laughter and joy. Such expressions proudly assert a new devotion for the body. It sweeps away the traditional shame of a woman’s physical desire.

Al Saher’s Album Release

Kazem Al Saher launched an album under the name “Raw’e Nizar Qabbani” (Nizar Qabbani’s Masterpieces). Eleven songs are in the collection that was formerly presented by Saher for the poet Qabbani, which include: Zidini Ishqan, Enni Ouhibouki, Ahebiny Bela Oqaden, Taqolin al-Hawa, Fi Madrasat-al-Hob, al-Rasmo bel Kalimat, Hal Endaky Shakk, Ila Telmiza, Sabahoki Sokkar, Taharaky, and Habibaty.

Qabbani, known as one of the Arab World’s best-enlightened poets. His language flowed brilliantly in free verse style and frequently captured the rhythms of everyday Syrian dialects. Many Arabic songs incorporate his lyrics. The most recognized Arab singers have commemorated his best poems. Thus, impacting in promoting his poetry on even a much broader scale.


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