- Middle East/North Africa
By Mai Elwakil
Born in the village of Tamay al-Zahayra in the Delta region, Om Kalthoum grew into a global music icon of the 20th century. Maria Callas described her as “the incomparable voice,” and Jean-Paul Sartre, Marie Laforet, Salvador Dali, Nico, Bono and Led Zeppelin are among those known to have admired her music. In the Arab world and Egypt, she is still the unmatched songstress, dubbed the “Planet of the East.”
In addition to her singing, Om Kalthoum also founded Egypt’s first music syndicate in 1942 and continued playing a significant role in developing the local music scene, promoting composers, musicians and poets until she died on 3 February 1975.
On the occasion of the anniversary of her death, we offer a quiz to find out about the many different sides of this legendary Egyptian singer.