Oum Kalthoum, Om Kolthom, Om Kalsoum, Omm Kalsoum, Omme Kolsoum, Oom Koolsum, Oum Kalthoum, Oum Kalthum, Oum Kalsoum, Oum Kaltsoum, Oum Kolthoum, Oum Koulsoum, Oum Kulthum, Oum Kulthume, Um Kalthoum,

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No. You sent it to my current address? The other one is dead.

Rockist_Scientist (rockist_scientist), Thursday, 28 October 2004 12:05 (fifteen years ago) link

two months pass...
I was looking through the NPR Curious Listener's Guide to World Music yesterday and they surprised me by recommending an Oum Kalthoum recording that is from the 30s rather than the 60s, and by Dawoud Hasni, rather than by Abdel Wahab, Baligh Hamdi, or Riad el-Sounbatti. As far as I know, I haven't heard this song.

I also saw yesterday that Women's Voices Across Musical Worlds has an article on the subject of this thread by Virginia Danielson, which looked like a really good compact introduction to Oum Kalthoum.

RS LaRue (rockist_scientist), Friday, 31 December 2004 17:53 (fifteen years ago) link

is that last title a book?

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Friday, 31 December 2004 20:55 (fifteen years ago) link

Yes, they are both books. I don't remember much about who else was in it.

RS LaRue (rockist_scientist), Saturday, 1 January 2005 01:35 (fifteen years ago) link

two months pass...
"Salo Qalbi": She can't even get the first line out completely because the audience is so happy to see her again that they drown her out with applause.

RS £aRue (rockist_scientist), Wednesday, 9 March 2005 18:20 (fifteen years ago) link

The January/February issue of Songlines has an introduction to Oum Kalthoum. There's not enough meat to it for me to really find much to complain about. It still bugs me that Abdel Wahab is the composer mentioned as her close associate when they didn't start collaborating until the 60s and it was Riad el Sounbatti who was the real major compositional genius that contributed to making Oum Kalthoum's opus what it was. I wish there were more of an attempt in this to describe what she does as a singer, rather than repeating the legend about the legend around the legend.

Recommended recordings:

Why is Al Atlal so often the recommended CD? Why that as the only one-song CD they recommend? Why recommend the 5 volume EMI collection of early material? Why bypass the core of her greatest work: the late 30s through the early 60s?

I paid over ten dollars for this issue of Songlines, so I could complain about this?

(Songlines is really lightweight. Despite it's frequent mediocrity, I think The Beat's coverage of the "world music" that it covers, which probably wouldn't include Oum Kalthoum, is better.)

Geez, I think the Oum Kalthoum intro. that appeared in Global Rhythms was better than this (but that's by the same author who wrote that NPR guide mentioned above, and I get the impression that he's spent some time listening to Oum Kalthoum.

RS £aRue (rockist_scientist), Friday, 11 March 2005 02:42 (fifteen years ago) link

Songlines does earn points for the inset where they recommend the Asmahan Legends of the 20th Century CD.

Actually, Songlines is pretty good for reviews. It's the articles that are usually a let-down.

RS £aRue (rockist_scientist), Friday, 11 March 2005 22:36 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
Umm Kulthum has been a significant influence on a number of musicians, both in the Arab world and beyond. Among others, Jah Wobble has claimed her as a significant influence on his work.


Jah Wobble? He's worth mentioning in a capsule biography of Umm Kulthum? (Did Natacha Atlas write this?)

RS_LaRue (RSLaRue), Monday, 18 April 2005 13:18 (fifteen years ago) link

Umm Kulthum is undoubtedly the most famous and recognized person in the History of the Middle East.


I think Mohammed might just be a little better known.

She did not use musical scores, she simply sang a few simple lines over and over altering them as her heart saw fit.

She didn't read scores while performing, but her works were probably all pre-composed. The lines might have generally been fairly simple, but some of the lyrics were considered to be very challenging poetry.

RS_LaRue (RSLaRue), Monday, 18 April 2005 13:28 (fifteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Oum Kalthoum in Iraq, 1932. (That's what the website said anyway.)

RS_LaRue (RSLaRue), Thursday, 5 May 2005 20:43 (fifteen years ago) link

three months pass...

Oum Kalthoum's villa.

Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 23:29 (fourteen years ago) link


Ian John50n (orion), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 01:45 (fourteen years ago) link

two months pass...
please ,
iwant to have the songs of this greatest artist in order to lesten to it.
I love oumkalthoum so much.


amina marref, Monday, 7 November 2005 16:05 (fourteen years ago) link

two months pass...
I never even saw that message before.

"The greatest ever singer in the world"--Rabih Abou Khalil (quoted in Songlines, Jan/Feb 2006).

Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Tuesday, 17 January 2006 19:29 (fourteen years ago) link

six months pass...
two weeks pass...
Nice clip from Al Atlal:


Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Sunday, 13 August 2006 02:39 (fourteen years ago) link

thanks, r.s. i wonder if i could find some of the better material you recommend above on one of the bourgeoning mp3 blogs...

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Sunday, 13 August 2006 03:22 (fourteen years ago) link

I haven't been looking lately. Maybe we can arrange something?

Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Sunday, 13 August 2006 03:30 (fourteen years ago) link

sure--email me and tell me if you're looking for anything!

Amateur(ist) (Amateur(ist)), Sunday, 13 August 2006 03:50 (fourteen years ago) link

seven months pass...
I like Rachid Taha's comments in his recent "Invisible Jukebox" interview in The Wire. He immediately calls Nahj El Borda (I think it was) "psychedelic." I hear it that way too, but not everyone knows what I'm talking about when I say this or that Arabic thing sounds "psychedelic."

Rockist Scientist, Tuesday, 27 March 2007 01:18 (thirteen years ago) link

one month passes...
I had a dream that Oum Kalthoum was still alive and that she sang at some sort of ceremony dedicating a religious site (also somehow connected to my job in the dream). She was singing together with some other people, including one of my co-workers. Somehow I wasn't involved and didn't get to meet her, but I told someone in the dream that Oum Kalthoum's career had started in 1910 (not necessarily true, but I don't remember off-hand) and wasn't it amazing that she was still going (in 2007).

Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 3 May 2007 15:37 (thirteen years ago) link

My dreams are so self-parodic!

Rockist Scientist, Thursday, 3 May 2007 15:39 (thirteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...

The beginning of "Baid Anak" is now up on youtube. (There are other parts up too. I haven't checked to see if it is a complete concert. The CD copy of this is quite long, and even it, I think, leaves off a portion of the instrumental intro. here, though I haven't listened for a while, so I'm not positive.) This opening passage is one of my favorite Oum Kalthoum performances (and it's from relatively late in her career). Notice how she totally works off the one possibly overzealous audience member who calls out (around 4:26ish) and just takes everything deeper. This is absolute must-see if you are remotely interested in Oum Kalthoum:


Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 30 May 2007 02:16 (thirteen years ago) link

Performing "Al Atlal" in Paris:


Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 30 May 2007 04:53 (thirteen years ago) link

Another "Al Atlal"!


(This was something she performed very heavily in her international touring at one point in the 60s. Not like I was there, alas.)

Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 30 May 2007 12:17 (thirteen years ago) link

This is pretty amazing (one-hand oud solo version of "Inta Omri"):


Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 30 May 2007 12:34 (thirteen years ago) link

Interesting. This Kuwaiti audience behaves more like a western audience than maybe any other audience I've seen/heard in an Oum Kalthoum live recording.

Rockist Scientist, Wednesday, 30 May 2007 12:52 (thirteen years ago) link

five months pass...

another victim of ilx2 thread title truncation

Lingbert, Monday, 12 November 2007 00:10 (twelve years ago) link

Yes, it's sad. What is it with people reviving my old threads today? (Not complaining, it's just weird.)

Rockist Scientist, Monday, 12 November 2007 00:21 (twelve years ago) link

If only ILX could do Arabic script - then we would only need one version of her name.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Monday, 12 November 2007 13:12 (twelve years ago) link

four months pass...

Hey Rockist Scientist or someone, can you date/rate these two new eMusic acquisitions....?



Hadrian VIII, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 18:04 (twelve years ago) link

or daterape

Hadrian VIII, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 18:04 (twelve years ago) link

I think I have a copy of this first one, but I will have to check and get back to you once I'm at home.

_Rockist__Scientist_, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 18:33 (twelve years ago) link

I'm checking out Ozkourini now. I think I picked this up in one of the last batches of Oum Kalthoum CDs I bought, which I haven't listened to all that much. This didn't really stand out for me, but sometimes it takes me a while to get into particular recordings by the subject of this thread. There are some fine solo violin passages so far.

There was just a big "ALLAH!" from the audience which I didn't see coming, which means I'm not quite clicking with it. Usually when I really click with one of these performances, I know when the audience is about to flip out.

It's very dark and brooding (presumably, romantically), even by the standards of her repertoire.

_Rockist__Scientist_, Thursday, 13 March 2008 01:13 (twelve years ago) link

The pace is finally picking up somewhat, but I'd have to say this is not something I'd recommend to someone who hasn't heard a bunch of her other music already.

_Rockist__Scientist_, Thursday, 13 March 2008 01:20 (twelve years ago) link

I've never seen the movie clip for this song before. "Ha Ablou Bokra," one of my favorite relatively shorter songs from her career:


_Rockist__Scientist_, Thursday, 13 March 2008 02:13 (twelve years ago) link

five months pass...


life at the Uum Kulthum cafe in Iraq

Devotees of the Sad, Beautiful Voice of Umm Kulthum

By Andrea Bruce
Washington Post Staff Photographer
Monday, August 11, 2008; A11

The cafe's dust-streaked sign is lost amid the chaos of old Baghdad. But a painted silhouette of a woman hangs above the entrance, signaling the way to an unlighted, soot-covered hallway stacked with broken generators.

Through the passage, street sounds fade and a woman's voice becomes clear. A reel-to-reel tape player is spinning the songs of the Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum. More than 30 years after her death, she is still probably the best-known and most beloved singer in the Middle East.

Several regulars -- well-dressed men who appear to be in their 50s -- sit on benches in the multitiered room known as the Umm Kulthum Cafe. They sip tea as they listen.

"Her voice is sweet," says Waheed A. Fatia, 61, who claims to have had an Umm Kulthum obsession since he was 10. "She has layers, a rich soprano. And she performs improvised, like American jazz."

Hookah pipes bubble, the fragrant smoke competing with the harsh, unfiltered cigarette smoke from the other side of the room, where men flip dominoes or softly move a rook into check. They play from midmorning to early evening, every day, to the sad, beautiful voice of Umm Kulthum. The cafe plays nothing else.

"No one obeys laws now, or has pride," Waheed says. "No security. No stability. But through all of this," he adds, looking around the cafe, "this is the same."

Less than a minute later, four young men wearing soccer jerseys and T-shirts emerge from the hallway and approach the cafe manager. They are members of the Sons of Iraq, former insurgents now allied with U.S. forces, here to collect the monthly "protection" fee of 15,000 Iraqi dinars -- about $12.

"This used to be a good street. With a bus stop, nightlife," says Jehad el-Obeiedi, 70, a retired movie director. "They called it 'the city of singing.' There was a famous nightclub next door."

From age-blackened paintings and framed black-and-white photos, Umm Kulthum looks down over her fans from every wall of the cafe while they hum her songs.

"We listen to her every day," Obeiedi says, "as if listening to it for the first time."

Washington Post photographer Andrea Bruce is documenting the lives of people in Iraq in a feature, Unseen Iraq, appearing regularly in the World pages. For a photo gallery and previous columns, visit http://blog.washingtonpost.com/unseen-iraq.

curmudgeon, Friday, 15 August 2008 18:01 (eleven years ago) link

four months pass...

Still the best.

_Rockist__Scientist_, Wednesday, 31 December 2008 20:24 (eleven years ago) link

I think there might be a tribute to her coming up as part of the February and March Arabic Music events coming to the Kennedy Center in DC

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 31 December 2008 20:36 (eleven years ago) link

Oum Kalthoum rehearsing a song she never formally recorded or publically performed:

_Rockist__Scientist_, Friday, 2 January 2009 19:05 (eleven years ago) link

rockist can you send something our way? post a link on yousendit perhaps? I'm very interested to hear some more of her if possible.

Moka, Saturday, 3 January 2009 09:14 (eleven years ago) link

My access to the internet is kind of limited at the moment (no dsl at home), so if I do it, it won't be real soon..

Also they are using a two year old version of Explorer in the library here making it hard for me to proof my posts, thanks to the way they display. I think I need to ask about updating that again.

_Rockist__Scientist_, Saturday, 3 January 2009 19:37 (eleven years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Moka check your e-mail (& continue checking).

_Rockist__Scientist_, Monday, 26 January 2009 21:30 (eleven years ago) link

Okay I'm already finished. I forgot just how easy everything has become. (Connection speeds here are usually really slow though, but that didn't seem to have an impact in this case.)

_Rockist__Scientist_, Monday, 26 January 2009 21:37 (eleven years ago) link

eight months pass...

There's some nice ol black & white footage of her with Youssou N'Dour talking about growing up listening to her, in the new Youssou N''Dour movie doc I recently saw that focussed on the making and promotion of his Egypt album.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 14:18 (ten years ago) link

this is prob my favorite thread title ever

mark cl, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 15:05 (ten years ago) link

How is it possible that there is footage of her talking to Youssou N'Dour? She died in 1975. But now on checking Youssou N'Dour's bio I see that he started singing when he was 12 and was already a big hit in the early 70s, so I suppose it's not impossible. I will have to look for this.

_Rudipherous_, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 22:47 (ten years ago) link

No, that's not what I meant-- I left out a comma and phrased that poorly. Youssou is shown in the documentary talking about Oum and the movie cuts away to a black and white film clip of Oum. Youssou talks about listening to Oum on the radio as a kid.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 04:07 (ten years ago) link

noone but rockist scientist is likely to care, but laure daccache died in 2005. i hadn't known.


amateurist, Saturday, 24 October 2009 07:17 (ten years ago) link

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