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In an exclusive interview with The Star: Rahbani disapointed with past Superstar participants.

By Dana Shalabi, Special to The Star Pat Conrey said that without music life is a journey through a desert. In my opinion that is very true for music is like magic. It touches most people's lives in one-way or another. It has the power to uplift one's mood and it also has the power to bring one's spirits down. Famous music composer and song writer Elias Rahbani, who is known to the Arab world through the fine imprints he has left on the Arabic music industry, and the fine inspirational comments he has made during the 2003 edition of Future TV's talent seeking program "Superstar", spoke about his beliefs on what makes a good music composition during his last visit to Jordan. Rahbani was in Jordan to take part in the screening process of the 2004 edition of "Superstar", between the time periods of December 20 and 23, during which he listened to Jordanian candidates, who had applied to take part in the program. Elias Rahbani was on a panel of judges working along side Abdallah Li'go'od, and Fadya Al Haj. He said he saw a lot of musical potentials in Jordan and that he was generally happy and satisfied with the candidates chosen. He added, "Esthetic beauty in music is standard". To him music that is pleasing to the ear is music that transcends time and place. Rahbani claims that there is no such thing as old or new music. He strongly believes that music that was nice to listen to in the past decades is still nice to listen to today, and that music that is poor in quality today is sure to be poor in quality always. When asked about modern music, Rahbani said that there is no such thing and that this term is simply an invention created by producers to commercialize on the purest of art forms, and to find more ways to make money. In keeping with this point Rahbani stated his disappointment with past participants in the "Superstar" program who according to him were caught up in the commercializing producers' wishes. He said he offered his expertise and free advice in order to sponsor these past participants and to help them produce musical compositions that honor the art form for its elevated sake. Unfortunately none of the past participants took this opportunity seriously. Rahbani said, "The emphasis for 'Superstar' this year is on a good voice within a good mind and a good set of values." A good mind helps the holder of a good voice to make right choices and to perform those genres that best suit his or her vocal capacities. A good set of values helps its holder refrain from any act that is in violation with ethics. At this point of the conversation Rahbani spoke of two phenomena that are seen in the music industry of today. He said that many producers steal melodies and claim that they are their own. It is needless to say that this is unacceptable and that there is no way on earth that a stealer could be considered an artist. The second problem he eluded to was that 97 percent of the artists and aspiring artists of today make bad choices, which consequently slow down the development of their art. Bad choices could mean choosing the wrong lyrics, the wrong tune or the wrong time amongst other things. When asked about his musical preferences he said that he has none, and that he doesn't listen to any of the contemporary music artists simply because he doesn't feel that they produce something that is of interest to him. A program like "Superstar" helps an aspiring artist but this can only take him or her so far. At some point the program is to bid farewell to its participants allowing them to fall like the golden leaves of autumn each flowing in a different direction with nothing more than the teachings of the masters of music estheticism themselves, and their values to guide them on their path to stardom. Let's hope that this year's contestants listen to Elias Rahbani's teachings, and let's hope they produce musical creations that bring pride to our nation and the world music industry at large.

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Jan 12, 2004
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