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In Memoriam: Lebanon Loses Beloved Musician Imane Homsy

Lebanon's foremost qanun musician, Imane Homsy, has passed away, leaving behind her a legacy of musical innovation, writes Elie Hajj.
Palestinian children play the qanun, a traditional Middle Eastern instrument, at the only music school in the Gaza Strip, at the headquarters of the Palestinian Red Crescent, on December 11, 2011. A room in Gaza's only music school fills with the sound of the qanun, a traditional Middle Eastern instrument, transporting listeners far from the impoverished territory.
AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Lebanese musician Imane Homsy created a revolution in playing the qanun, a stringed Arab-Turkish instrument that resembles the guitar. At the pinnacle of her contribution to music, Imane died, taking her talent and refined femininity with her. Her fingers became stiff as illness crept into her bones and stopped them from moving, leaving her no longer able to pluck out the most delicate melodies and heart-wrenching sounds. The image of this woman leaning over her qanun has been engrained in the memories of the Lebanese and Arabs at large, playing the most incredible and technically challenging pieces in innovative ways.

In her early years, Homsy fell victim to her love for this difficult yet alluring musical instrument. While her friends where running around and playing with toys and dolls, she turned the qanun into a game, a friend, a confident and a companion. She spent the greatest part of her time with her strings, experiencing joy and sadness with it, sleeping and traveling with it.

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