Rabih K

Lebanese-Australian singer ‘Faydee’ turned international sensation

Fady Fatrouni, known by his stage name Faydee, is a master of combining pop and Arab sounds and creating exciting and catchy music.

That has been his goal since he was 13-years-old. He always wanted to combine the Middle Eastern culture with western music, he told Lebanese Examiner in an exclusive interview.

His voice might be familiar to U.S. listeners due to his feature in the mega hit song, Habibi (I Need Your Love).

Faydee pushed heavily for the song to contain Arabic undertones and for the name to include the word Habibi.

Faydee is best known for his international hit "Habibi (I Need Your Love)" credited to Shaggy, Mohombi, Faydee and Costi. (Facebook/Faydee)
Faydee is best known for his international hit “Habibi (I Need Your Love)” credited to Shaggy, Mohombi, Faydee and Costi. (Facebook/Faydee)

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“One of my proudest moments is that the song charted in the top 100 in the U.S.,” Faydee said. “For me that was a surreal thing that the Arabic-English version (of the song) got the most recognition.”

“I want Arabic music to be as accepted as Spanish music is in the pop culture,” he added.

Faydee said his parents initially disapproved of his plans to be a singer, telling him to pursue other careers that were “more tangible.” However, when they realized the talent that their son had, they turned into his biggest supporters.

“For them, the proudest they were of me is when I accepted an award from the Beirut (& Beyond) International Music Festival,” he said. “Seeing me receive an award from the place they grew up was big.”

In the future, Faydee wants to venture into acting and continue to expand his brand by making new Arab-Western fusion music often.

Listen to his single Habibi Albi featuring Leftside by clicking the link below:

Lebanese youth among heaviest hookah users in the world, study says

According to a study published by the Imperial College London, Lebanese youth are ranked among the heaviest hookah smokers in the world.

The study was conducted in 2018 and included smoking estimates for 68 countries. Researchers concluded that 37.2 percent of youth reported using hookah in the past 30 days of a survey, among the highest in the world.

“Waterpipe tobacco smoking is most prevalent in Eastern Mediterranean and European countries, and appears higher among youth than adults,” the study said.

Waterpipe tobacco smoking is most prevalent in Eastern Mediterranean and European countries, according to the study. (File photo)
Waterpipe tobacco smoking is most prevalent in Eastern Mediterranean and European countries, according to the study. (File photo)

The study also added that about 65 percent of Lebanese citizens under 24 have smoked hookah at least once in their life.

RELATED: Study shows 40% of Beirut sleeps less than six hours

Hookah usage in Iran and Egypt were also considered high with usage rates over 10 percent.

In response, the American University of Beirut Medical Center launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of the negative health effects associated with smoking tobacco from a waterpipe.

A copy of the full study is available on the National Institutes of Health website.

‘The Beirut’ restaurant ranked Toledo, Ohio’s best restaurant for 2018

A Lebanese restaurant in Toledo, Ohio was just ranked on the top of the Toledo Blade’s best restaurants of 2018 list.

‘The Beirut’ is located just 10 minutes from Downtown on 4082 Monroe Street, and “serves a variety of Mediterranean cuisine and a smattering of Italian fare in a casual [environment]”, the list explains.

The restaurant received a prestigious ‘5 stars’ ranking. The top honor for restaurants in the city was only given to one other establishment this year.

RELATED: Beirut’s Central Station Boutique named among ‘World’s 50 Best Bars’

The Blade described their frequent visits to the restaurant as “perfect” and said, “expect massive portions at moderate to slightly above moderate prices.”

The Beirut Restaurant was established in 1977 as a joint ownership with Labib Hajjar and Riad Abou-Arraj, according to its website.

To preview their menu or to learn more about the restaurant, click here.

Report: Lebanese Army bans its soldiers from playing PUBG video game

The Lebanese army recently issued a decree banning its soldiers from playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds mobile, according to a report from Al Arabiya English.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, better known as PUBG, is an online multiplayer game developed and published by the PUBG Corporation, where 100 players compete with each other to be the last player (or team) standing by eliminating all other opponents.

Al Arabiya reported  that Lebanese Army leadership issued an internal memo on January 4 to its soldiers prohibiting them from downloading the game or any similar games.

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The memo cites the concern with communication with players all across the world that could include “the Zionist enemy” and indicated that “strict disciplinary actions [will take place] against the violators.”

PUBG is one of the most popular games in Lebanon and around the world, maintaining nearly 14 million users daily.

Lebanese actress Darine Hamze and convictions she will never give up on

Darine Hamze is one of the most well well-known daring actresses in the Middle East. She is known for taking on diverse and courageous roles on Lebanese TV shows and movies.

Darine spoke exclusively with Lebanese Examiner about what drives her everyday and the causes that keep her going.

How did you get started in the acting?

I was first introduced to acting during my early elementary boarding school days, at Sabis Ashwicke Hall, England, UK, when I was 8 years old. There I participated in all school plays and first discovered my love for acting. Which naturally lead to me studying drama acting and cinema in University and my MA was also cinema in the University of Westminster, UK.

What are some causes in Lebanon that you are passionate about?

Funny you ask that, since I have just founded an NGO called “Ibram” with a group of friends and family that works on crime prevention and youth empowerment. It is actually a kind of tribute to my father’s memory, since he was brutally murdered by (thieves) on the streets of Beirut. And I feel it is my responsibility now to follow up on this cause since it is very personal.

Hamze has performed in dozens of films where she is known for taking on challenging and complex roles. (Provided photo)
Hamze has performed in dozens of films where she is known for taking on challenging and complex roles. (Provided photo)

As you travel all across the world, what do you think of the Lebanese diaspora outside of Lebanon?

It saddens me actually to think of it, since separation is always hard experience to live. My brother is one of them, and I think almost every Lebanese family now has a son, or father or husband or daughter living abroad to find better living means. Unfortunately this hs been happening for many many years now, maybe it is the Lebanese’s destiny since our Phoenician ancestors.

What are some current or future projects you are working on that your fans should look forward to?

I have a new series that will be screening starting 2019, and am preparing for a new movie. There is also a lot of activities that I will be participating in for our NGO Ibram in Lebanon.

RELATED: Actress Shannon Elizabeth: I’m proud of the Lebanese side of my life

What would you like to say to the younger generation, that consider you a role model?

I say to them, follow your heart and intuition. Be true to yourselves, be creative and never compromise for your integrity cause that is what you will have at the end of your path. And do good not wrong, and be kind as much as you can, and stay courageous when things get bad around you, but know it is only a phase and everything passes.

Lebanon’s InterContinental Mzaar among 50 most scenic mountain resorts

The InterContinental Mzaar Mountain Resort and Spa in Lebanon was recently listed in the 50 most scenic mountain resorts by U.S. News & World Report.

The resort was featured alongside worldwide favorites like the Gstaad Palace in Switzerland and Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado.

Located about one hour northeast of Beirut, the resort has over 135 furnished rooms and suites along with conference facilities and exquisite variety of dining venues, according to their website.

Related: Day3a of the Day: Faraya— a summer retreat and snow destination

Read the U.S. News full listing:

“Experience luxury amid snowy peaks at this InterContinental hotel less than 32 miles northeast of Beirut. Though you could easily spend your entire vacation skiing and snowmobiling in winter or hiking and rafting in summer, be sure to take advantage of the resort’s cinema, shops, heated indoor pool and kids fun center. Or, retreat to your Alpine chalet-inspired room or the on-site spa for a massage, facial or body treatment. When you’ve worked up an appetite, sit for a meal at one of six restaurants that serve everything from Japanese fare to Lebanese mountain cuisine to American classics.”

The InterContinental Mzaar Mountain Resort and Spa was named among the world's most scenic mountain resorts. (Facebook/InterContinental Mzaar)
The InterContinental Mzaar Mountain Resort and Spa was named among the world’s most scenic mountain resorts. (Facebook/InterContinental Mzaar)

To learn more about the resort and reserve your room for a future visit, click here.

WATCH: Massari, Maya Diab, and French Montana’s remake of ‘Nour El Ein’

Lebanese-Canadian singer Massari, hip-hop artist French Montana, and Lebanese singer Maya Diab released a remake of the Arabic classic Nour El Ein.

“Nour El Ein,” which translates to “the light of my eyes,” is the second collaboration between French Montana and Massari.

The 2018 remake has two English verses sung by French Montana and Massari with the chorus performed by Maya Diab.

RELATED: French Montana’s Lebanese music manager Tony Sal listed in Billboard’s ‘100 Power Players’

According to the National, the idea for the song came from the Lebanese music composer Hadii Sharara, who is also one of the most successful music producers in the Middle East.

Maya Diab, Massari and French Montana collaborated on their own version of the Arabic classic, "Ya Nour El Ein." (YouTube screenshot/Massari)
Maya Diab, Massari and French Montana collaborated on their own version of the Arabic classic, “Ya Nour El Ein.” (YouTube screenshot/Massari)

WATCH: Massari – Ya Nour El Ein (feat. Maya Diab & French Montana)

Beirut’s Central Station Boutique named among ‘World’s 50 Best Bars’

The Central Station Boutique Bar in Beirut was featured among “The World’s 50 Best Bars of 2018.”

The World’s 50 Best Bars is an annual listing of the finest bars and alcohol establishments around the globe. Central Station was number 27 on the list!

The bar got its name from the once-functional Beirut train station, which is located near the Central Station Boutique.

The Central Station Boutique Bar is known for its "ability to deliver some very creative drinks," according to the list. (Facebook/Central Station Boutique Bar)
The Central Station Boutique Bar is known for its “ability to deliver some very creative drinks,” according to the list. (Facebook/Central Station Boutique Bar)

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“The menu is an appealing balance of humor and flavour, with a nice emphasis on taking something that feels familiar and reimagining it with a contemporary edge,” the list said.

The bar is located on Armenia Street, Mar Mikhayel in Beirut and is open 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. 7 days per week.

“The space elegantly combines dark wood with quirky touches, such as the railway carriage wheels suspended from the ceiling, while a long, focal-point bar runs the length of the room,” the list added.

Learn more about the Central Station bar and The World’s 50 best Bars list at this link.

White House appoints Darrell Issa to lead Trade and Development Agency

President Donald Trump has nominated former Congressman Darrell Issa, a Lebanese American, to lead the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Issa will replace Thomas Hardy, who has been the acting director since President Trump took office in January 2017.

The USTDA was established to advance economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle income countries, according to the USTDA website.

Earlier this year, Issa announced he would not run for re-election, which set up a competitive campaign in one of California’s biggest swing districts.

The California Republican is currently the wealthiest congressman in America, with a net worth projected to be around $460 million.

Lebanese-American Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced he would not seek re-election in January. (File photo)
Lebanese-American Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced he would not seek re-election in January. (File photo)

RELATED: Lebanese-American prosecutor runs for California State Assembly

The congressman’s book, “Watchdog,” mentions his travels to Lebanon during a time he traveled to locate buyers for land that his father inherited.

He said his trip to Lebanon was “a blessing,” and he met his grandfather’s brother and sister during the occasion.

Read the official White House press release about Darrell Issa’s nomination, here.

Lebanese music manager Tony Sal listed in Billboard’s ‘100 Power Players’

Lebanese music manager Wassim Slaiby, better known as Tony Sal, made Billboard’s 2018 list of “R&B/Hip-Hop 100 Power Players.”

The 38-year-old entrepreneur was born in Lebanon and currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife former Miss USA Rima Fakih and family.

He runs Sal & Co./XO Records, where he manages big name artists like French Montana and The Weeknd.

Slaiby married former Miss USA Rima Fakih in 2016. (Facebook/Rima Fakih)
Slaiby married former Miss USA Rima Fakih in 2016. (Facebook/Rima Fakih)

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Billboard wrote that Tony’s “Achievement Of The Year” was when longtime client Abęl Makkonen Tesfaye notched his third consecutive Billboard 200 No. 1 single.

“Seeing Abel take over that stage and knowing how much it meant to him was very special,” Slaiby told Billboard. He has been working with the artist since 2012.

The entertainment media brand also recognized the Lebanese entrepreneur’s philanthropic efforts to build a Ugandan hospital with artist French Montana that opened in March of this year.

Learn more about Tony Sal and Billboard’s list of Power Players at this link.

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