Syrian singer George Wassouf to play in Kurdistan for the first time

He will perform in central Erbil on Friday, July 19

JERASH, JORDAN - JULY 23: Syrian singer George Wassouf performs at the crowded southern amphitheatre during the Jerash Festival on July 23, 2011 in Jerash, Jordan. The Jerash Festival is a cultural event held at the end of July and beginning of August featuring a wide variety of performances. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images)
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His career spans four decades, but this weekend will be the first time George Wassouf will perform in Kurdistan in Iraq, where he has a particularly strong fan following.

The singer, considered a master and legend to many, has performed in Iraq once before, but never in Kurdistan, according to news site Kurdistan 24.

For years, there have been rumours surrounding the 57-year-old singer’s health and lifestyle, with news reports labelling him as close to retirement, or as gravely ill.

And sure, his smooth tenor tones of the 1980s is considerably more ragged, but he continues to rack up a consistent number of gigs a year. The show certainly does go on, but he does sometimes require assistance to stand when performing live:

He has released a number of singles in recent years, including the wildly popular Maliket Gamal El Rouh, which has had more than seven million views on YouTube:

His January Levantine folk single Hal El Garih exemplifies the gravelly style of his voice today:

Wassouf will perform in the Saad Adbullah Hall in downtown Erbil.

The singer, who has lived in Lebanon for much of his life, shared a post on Instagram with details of phone numbers for fans in Erbil to contact if they want to attend the gig: