Published: 2023-01-04 12:44
Last Updated: 2023-03-24 01:45
Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum, also known as "Kawkab el-Charq" (Star of the Orient), has been featured on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list entitled “The 200 Greatest Singers of All Time,” making her the only Arab artist on the iconic list.
Rolling Stone’s contributor, Will Hermes, wrote the following brief about the Egyptian idol: “Umm Kulthum has no real equivalent among singers in the West: For decades the Egyptian star represented, and to an extent still does, the soul of the pan-Arab world. Her potent contralto, which could blur gender in its lower register, conveyed breathtaking emotional range in complex songs that, across theme and wildly-ornamented variations, could easily last an hour, as she worked crowds like a fiery preacher. Her death in 1975 brought millions into the Cairo streets to mourn, and while her influence among Arab singers is incalculable, it extended far beyond it. Dylan considered her “great.” Beyoncé prominently (and scandalously) used “Enta Omri” in her 2016 tour choreography. And Robert Plant conceded that “when I first heard the way [Umm Kulthum] would dance down through the scale to land on a beautiful note I couldn’t even imagine singing, it was huge: Somebody had blown a hole in the wall of my understanding of vocals.”
Born on May 4, 1904, Umm Kulthum was active from the twenties to the seventies. She ranked as number 61 on the list and her influence in the Middle East and North Africa region was so powerful that millions of fans gathered to attend her funeral in Cairo back in 1975.
Notably, the top ten artists on the list are Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, Otis Redding and Al Green.