Oum Kalthoum  

 Oum Kalthoum
Om Kalthoum* was born in the village of Tammay Al-Zahayra. Initially she accompanied her father and sang verses from Koran. Her father would dress her as a boy when she sang in public (1914).

Om Kalthoum's family moved to Cairo in 1920s. She sang secular poetry in private parties in on stage. Later her concerts would be broadcast through Egypt and the Arab world via radio on the first Thursday of the month. For years her music was played every day at 5pm on the radio. In 1964, in collaboration with Mohammad Abd Al-Wahab, she merged classical Arabic and Western music to create a new type of singing.

She not only sang and starred in six movies, but was a nationalist who helped the Egyptian revolution, raised money for arms, brought Arab states together and was loved by the people of Egypt.

  "Not through hope will the prize be taken,
  The world is taken by struggle"

Translated line from classical Arabic poem sung by Om Kalthoum

* "Om Kalthoum" means "mother of Kalthoum". It is variously spelt "Oum Koltom", "Um Kolsoum", "Umm Kulthum" depending on how the vowels are transliterated and whether the classical (Kalthoum) or dialectic pronunciation is chosen for the tha.

Yousry Sharif, lecture 2000; Umm Kulthum - A Voice Like Egypt (DVD 2006)


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