“He who sings scares away his woes.”
–Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Umm Kulthum remains one of the most
iconic figures in the Arab music.
Umm Kulthum is arguably one of the most famous Arab musicians who ever lived. The Arab world was in awe with her unmatchable voice. The magic of her voice lasted for more than fifty years. Her fame was not only limited to her hometown. She was considered as the cultural icon of the entire Arab world. Poets who eagerly offered their pieces to her in hopes of becoming the next esteemed songwriter ordained into Umm Kulthum’s repertoire wrote her lyrics.
Kulthum used toperform monthly concerts, in Cairo for almost forty years, and her concerts would be broadcasted love on the radio. For Arabs she was not only a musician but also an ambassador of the Arab world.
No one else could have summarised the achievements of her other than the late Edward Said who once famously said, “The greatest and most famous singer of the twentieth-century Arab world was Um Kalthoum, whose records and cassettes, fifteen years after her death, are available everywhere. A fair number of non-Arabs know about her too, partly because of the hypnotic and melancholy effect of her singing, partly because in the world-wide rediscovery of authentic people’s art Um Kalthoum is a dominant figure. But she also played a significant role in the emerging Third World women’s movement as a pious ‘Nightingale of the East’ whose public exposure was as a model not only of feminine consciousness but also of domestic propriety.”