BEIRUT: The Professional Musicians' Syndicate urged the government Saturday to announce a day of mourning in honor of Wadih al-Safi who died Friday at the age of 92.
In a statement, the syndicate called on President Michel Sleiman and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati to announce a day of mourning.
On social media, members of the public also urged the government to designate a day for Safi with the hash tag #Nationaldayofmourningtowadihelsafi trending nationally on Twitter.
Sleiman offered his condolences on the death of Safi, describing the singer's passing as a great loss for Lebanon’s folk music, his office said.
Mikati described Saturday the passing of the renowned artist as a loss for Lebanon’s “authentic art” scene, praising the legacy the 92-year-old singer and songwriter has left behind.
“With the departure of Wadih al-Safi, the image of the authentic Lebanese art is absent as it now lacks the unmatched voice [of Safi] who sang for Lebanon the most beautiful of words and tunes,” Mikati said in a statement.
“His songs became national anthems carried by the Lebanese wherever they went as the best means to express our nation's beauty and history,” he added.
Safi suffering a stroke at his son’s house in Mansourieh Friday night and was transferred to the Bell Vue Medical Center where he passed away.
Safi was part of Lebanon’s musical landscape for nearly 75 years, creating a modernized form of folk music by blending traditional melodies with an urban sound.
Born in the Chouf Village of Hita, Safi kickstarted his career at the tender age of 17 when he won a singing competition broadcast on a radio station. He collaborated with several artists and recorded over 1,000 songs.
When circumstances forced him to leave Lebanon, he continued singing songs about the nation and the land.
“Our consolation is that he has made a name for himself alongside the giants of this country and the world, leaving behind a legacy that will survive generations to come and a school of art that proved its uniqueness,” Mikati said.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea also commented on the passing of Safi, was who nicknamed “the voice of Lebanon.”
"We bid farewell today to Wadih who carried Lebanon in his heart and settled on Lebanon's mountains as an eagle. We will never forget his voice in the most difficult of times,” Geagea said.
“Sleep with comfort, dear Wadih, because the Lebanon that you loved will survive,” he added.