Born in 1921, Wadih Francis became Wadih el Safi at 17 years old. The directors of the Lebanese Radio have decided so, for this young man who won top national voice of the song contest. This Safi surname, pure, will accompany some 50 years dedicated exclusively to exalt Lebanese Tarab. Wadih el Safi sang Umm Koulsoum and Abdel Wahab before composing his own music and enriching our musical heritage with over 1000 songs. Many songwriters have written for him poems with simple, powerful language, which will pour all the nostalgia of the soil. Rabih el Khawli, Pascale Sakr, Nohad Torbey, Ghassan Saliba will listen carefully to the advice of the master. Like many other Lebanese, Wadih el Safi had one day to leave his country. But this voluntary exile that led him to Paris turned into a mission for peace, a «propaganda» for Lebanon that he knew so well to sing. Messenger of the Cedars, he often expressed the sadness of the migrant and his eternal dream to return.
You’re one of those giants such Feyrouz and Sabah that have made the greatness of traditional Lebanese song. Do you maintain a friendly relationship with them? My relationship with Fayrouz and Sabah is limited to mutual respect. I have consideration for these ladies of the Lebanese song.
Do you visit each other for special occasions and holidays? Well, no, we are not so familiar but we have been in contact on some occasions such as when Fayrouz called me to congratulate me for being decorated. I was touched.
You have participated in important plays of the Rahbani such Kassidet Hobb alongside Fayrouz and Nasri Chamseddine and Mawsem el Ezz with Sabah … but your relationship with the Rahbani remained tense, hostile. What is the reason? My relations with the Rahbani family are not hostile. I have participated in some of their plays but circumstances have ended our collaboration.
Ziad, son of Aassi Rahbani and Fayrouz denounced your interview in the television talk show Hiwar El Omr hosted by Gisèle Khoury and in which you stated that you were alone worth all the Rahbani … Is this true? Who said that? That’s what Ziad says and not Wadih el Safi. This is absolutely false. And I am surprised that the son of Fayrouz actually said that.
Young singers imitate professionals like Wadih el Safi. In your opinion, which of these newly arriving to the song truly belongs to your school, which have a promising future? I very much like the voice of Mou’in Chraif which is extremely beautiful. And I predict a bright future for him.