"The Voice of Egypt": Umm Kulthum, Arabic Song, and Egyptian Society in the Twentieth Century

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 273 pages
0 Reviews
Umm Kulthum, the "voice of Egypt," was the most celebrated musical performer of the century in the Arab world. More than twenty years after her death, her devoted audience, drawn from all strata of Arab society, still numbers in the millions. Thanks to her skillful and pioneering use of mass media, her songs still permeate the international airwaves. In the first English-language biography of Umm Kulthum, Virginia Danielson chronicles the life of a major musical figure and the confluence of artistry, society, and creativity that characterized her remarkable career.

Danielson examines the careful construction of Umm Kulthum's phenomenal popularity and success in a society that discouraged women from public performance. From childhood, her mentors honed her exceptional abilities to accord with Arab and Muslim practice, and as her stature grew, she remained attentive to her audience and the public reception of her work. Ultimately, she created from local precendents and traditions her own unique idiom and developed original song styles from both populist and neo-classical inspirations. These were enthusiastically received, heralded as crowning examples of a new, yet authentically Arab-Egyptian, culture. Danielson shows how Umm Kulthum's music and public personality helped form popular culture and contributed to the broader artistic, societal, and political forces that surrounded her.

This richly descriptive account joins biography with social theory to explore the impact of the individual virtuoso on both music and society at large while telling the compelling story of one of the most famous musicians of all time.

"She is born again every morning in the heart of 120 million beings. In the East a day without Umm Kulthum would have no color."—Omar Sharif
 

What people are saying - Write a review

"The voice of Egypt": Umm Kulthūm, Arabic song, and Egyptian society in the twentieth century

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This scholarly analysis of the phenomenon of Egypt's Umm Kulthum, a renowned singer and one of the most famous women in "world music," is an accessible combination of biography, sociology, and ... Read full review

Contents

III
1
IV
2
V
4
VI
7
VII
10
VIII
14
X
17
XI
21
XXX
126
XXXI
127
XXXII
133
XXXIII
138
XXXIV
139
XXXV
141
XXXVI
144
XXXVII
146

XII
28
XIII
35
XIV
42
XV
51
XVI
56
XVII
58
XVIII
63
XIX
70
XX
78
XXI
82
XXII
84
XXIII
87
XXIV
92
XXV
100
XXVI
102
XXVII
107
XXVIII
110
XXIX
121
XXXVIII
159
XXXIX
164
XL
167
XLI
171
XLII
177
XLIII
181
XLIV
183
XLV
184
XLVI
187
XLVII
192
XLVIII
195
XLIX
203
L
205
LI
251
LII
262
LIII
263
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

Bibliographic information