A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, February 3, 2014

Umm Kulthum Left the Building 39 Years Ago Today

A lot of Arabs, and pretty much all Egyptians, agree that Umm Kulthum was the greatest Arab singer of all time. Her death on February 3, 1975, 39 years ago today, did not dim her fame, and her music remains popular. Her funeral procession rivaled Nasser's; her former home is marked by a statue, and there is a museum (bearing her title Kawkab al-Sharq, "Star of the East") displaying her memorabilia. Like Elvis, her fame has survived her by decades, though neither they nor their music otherwise resemble each other.

All her performances were lengthy; in this one the singing doesn't begin for some time.

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