EGYPT: SOUL OF ORIENTAL CLASSIC SINGING LIVES ON

Comment by Mohammad Al-Bahar

CAIRO, Sept 15 – Stalwart of the oriental classic singing, Umm Kalthoum, has remained alive years after her demise and that is through her museum on the Nile, where recorded echoes of her mesmerizing voice sound more dazzling, as they mingle with the rustling ripples of the river waters.

Dr. Nahla Mattar, the museum curator, said that the museum, located in Al-Roda district in southern Cairo, witnesses presentation of at least one of her songs, recorded or sung by gifted amateur singers, every month.

The museum management plays host to famous musicians, such as the maestro Salim Sahab, to lecture about the songs, their meanings and history of composing them.

Attendees are also entertained with unique pictures of the late classic singer and costumes she used to wear at her soirees at theatres full packed with her fans.

“Umm Kalthoum gallery is a platform that narrates story and history of one of the stalwarts of the Arab and Egyptian art,” Dr. Mattar said, indicating that the decoration, the location and the nearby panorama of the Nile contribute to re-creating the dazzling atmosphere the great singer used to furnish her audience with.

Ahmad Mamdouh, in charge of public relations’ affairs at the museum, told KUNA that some of the displayed pictures show Umm Kalthoum with the late leaders, namely Jamal Abdul Nasser and Anwar Al-Sadat, indicating her close ties during her times with the top decision-makers. She appears in some of the pictures in her village, Temai Al-Zhaira, during her childhood.

Moreover, the museum provides some of her films, that had been produced since 1935 — such as “wedad,” “nashid al-amal,” “dananeer,” and “aida.” It also keeps original scripts of her songs’ lyrics, like “etna umri” and “laylat hob.” An archive, containing books and clippings of what the press had written about Umm Kalthoum, is also kept.

Umm Kalthoum was widely famous of her powerful voice, marathon singing and strong effect on the audience. The Arab media continue to broadcast her recorded songs till today — favored particularly by seniors.

SOURCE: KUNA