Salman Zaiman, known for his hits including Why, Life and The Best Evening, has lost his battle with leukemia. He was 66. Image Credit: BACA

Manama: Salman Zaiman, one of the Arabian Gulf’s best-known artists, has died following a battle with leukemia. He was 66.

His songs focused on national and pan-Arab issues and he often spoke with pride of his support for the Palestinian cause.

Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, the President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), paid her respects. “The Bahraini art scene has lost an artist who loved the stage with vibrating passion and offered his soul selflessly for his passion and for art,” she said. 

“He was able to withhold all forms of onslaughts to assert that art is the language of love and triumph. The late artist has left an indelible mark on the local songs and he had a commendable role in building generations of music lovers and song fans,” she added.

Born in Muharraq, Bahrain’s second largest island, Zaiman attended elementary and intermediate schools there. He later worked as a designer at the Ministry of Works.

He went on to the Iraqi capital Baghdad where he took up mechanical engineering at university.

Back in Bahrain, he took up a position at Asry, a ship-repairing yard.

He decided to switch his career from engineering to arts and left for Kuwait where he lived for several years. He taught music for 20 years until 2010 and helped several students master the skill of playing instruments.

He also partnered with several singers, composing many of their songs.

Zaiman also formed with his sisters Ajras, a successful troupe that performed across the Gulf and in many Arab countries.

Some of his best-known compositions were Why, Life?, You Are My Dream, The Best Evening, The Eid Has Arrived, Memories, Between Lovers and Love Has Its Secrets.