Om Kalthoum in 1948
Umm Kulthum (December 31, 1898–February 3, 1975) was an Egyptian singer, songwriter, and actress. Born in Tamay ez-Zahayra village that belongs to El Senbellawein, she is known as “The Star of The East” (kawkab el-sharq). More than three decades after her death, she is widely regarded as the greatest female singer in Arab music history.
Various spellings of her name include Om Kalsoum, Om Koultoum, Om Kalthoum, Oumme Kalsoum and Umm Kolthoum.
to those of you who are not living near me, her music is the background to cairo. it is hard to explain how ubiquitous her music is. there is no artist in the states who is played so constantly in restaurants, taxis, cafes, television, parties, radio…in just about every public space you can imagine if there is music playing 50 percent chance it is um kulthum. her music and the call to prayer are my auditory picture of cairo, west bank, and jordan. and if you listen to her music, you will probably be able to catch the similarities between her sound and the call to prayer. habibi, habibi, habibi…