Monday, February 6, 2012

Music Muse Monday THE STAR OF THE EAST

Music Muse

Egypt Is Still In Turmoil
Slide Show
The Voice of Egypt
Umm Kulthum
"In her lifetime, she became the symbol of the aspirations of the entire Arab world."

An author friend added this detail in a recent email conversation:

"Two of the subjects of my oral histories said that their families could not afford to go to the concerts, but that their homes were cleaned prior to these concerts, their radio polished to a high shine, ceremonially placed on a freshly laundered white table cloth and the family gathered to listen. Also, that words of her songs were printed in the newspapers prior to these concerts and memorized by her fans."

And this ethnographic information:
"We must always call her Umm Kulthum, as the "Umm" means 'mother of', a term of respect in the East where (at least once upon a time) you would shield a woman's name by not putting it out in public (In the country side, where magic was believed and practiced, a woman's name could be used to cast spells on her and her family).  This naming was a form of consideration, a sign of respect. Usually, one was mother of her first child. If there were no children, one might be called "Umm al Ghaayeb", or 'Mother of the Absent one'."

Affectionately known as the 'Star of the East', Umm Kulthum is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most enduring popular singers of the 20th Century. Her career in film was limited to appearances in six Egyptian productions in the period between 1936 and 1947.
She then abandoned film altogether in order to concentrate exclusively on performing live.

Broadcast of a Concert in Morroco
1968--6 minute clip
Broadcast of  a Full Concert

(not dated)--55 Minutes
Umm Kulthum's 1975 funeral in Cairo attracted over 4 million mourners, and descended into pandemonium when the crowd seized and made off with her coffin.  A quarter of a century after her death Umm Kulthum's recordings continue to sell about a million copies a year - consistently out-charting many present-day middle-eastern music superstars
1996 Film

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