Ahmad Fathi [Archives:1999/07/Culture]

February 15 1999

The renowned musician Ahmad Fathi is one of the symbols of Yemeni song, and is its messenger to the outside world. He enriched the Yemeni artistic movement with his distinguished creativity and his brilliance in playing the lute.
Fathi obtained an MA with distinction from the Cairo higher musical institute in December of last year for his thesis on the lute and its importance to Yemeni songs.
Our famous singer was born in Hodeida in the early fifties and was extensively affected by Yemeni traditional music. Yemeni music has affected him ever since his early childhood, in addition to eastern songs, especially Egyptian songs. I heard this from him myself in a Hodeida hotel during a visit there in late 1967.
Similar to other young artists, he started his march in Sanaa and concentrated on playing the lute. In the seventies he joined the musical institute in Cairo and obtained a diploma in harmonic music and specialized in playing the lute instrument.
He sang for the poet Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Makaleh for a period of time after his graduation and their joint production was widely welcomed inside and outside Yemen.
In the early eighties, he met with the Yemeni singer Abu Bakir Salem, who lives in Saudi Arabia, in their first song of Yemeni traditional music. That joint artistic work coupled with the new musicial introductions increased Fathi’s reputation.
Our singer could not stay out of Yemen for long, and repeatedly visited his homeland. He was interviewed by the Television Space Channel for a show in which he talked about his artistic march and aspirations.
He also shared in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s artistic festival held in London along with other traditional troupes.
Last year the Culture and Tourism Minister Abdul Malik Mansour decorated the singer with the “Arts Medal” in appreciation of his role in raising the popularity of high Yemeni songs in the local, Arab and International arenas.
Fathi sang in a musical play in the seventies and sang a number of songs for Yemeni TV channel-2 for the poet Mahmoud Al Haj at that time.
Fathi, who is currently living in Cairo, said that he has strong relations with the Saudi singer Mohammed Abdou and that they will jointly sing in a carnival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia later this year.
The Yemeni singer, who won a high place at the international childhood festival in Cairo last year, is currently recording a new album, which includes songs written by Yemeni and Arab poets.
By: Saleh Abdulbaki,
Art Editor, Yemen Times