Egypt Celebrates Abdel Wahab Birth Anniversary
The birth anniversary of the late composer and singer Mohamed Abdel-Wahab will be commemorated on 14 March at the Gomhouriya Theatre by the Cairo Opera Orchestra conducted by Kamal Hilal, according to al-Ahram Weekly.
Abdel-Wahab birth anniversary was commemorated last week at the Cairo Opera House by the Abdel-Halim Noweira, Arabic Music Ensemble conducted by Salah Ghoubashi, with vocalist Safwan Bahlawan.
From the 1930's through the 1970's, Muhammad Abdel-Wahab was, to the vast majority of Arabic speaking peoples, a giant in the world of Middle Eastern entertainment. Every Arab who could afford it bought his records or tapes and listened for hours to his singing on radio and, later, television. His captivating voice brought to their mind the glorious days of Arab culture - the time when Arabic music and song were the epitome of merriment. His rendering in melody of the classical poetry from the Arab's golden age and that of their modern struggle against Western colonialism inspired in his listeners a feeling of pride in their rich heritage.
Abdel Wahab, modern Egypt's best-known singer, composer and actor, died of heart failure on May 3, 1991 after a musical career spanning 74 years. In those decades he rose from a humble beginning to become the father of modern Egyptian song and a legend in the world of Arabic music and melody. Dubbed the 'musician of generations,' his music delighted for years people of all ages.
During this long period, which began in his teens, he composed for himself and other leading Arab singers over 1,800 romantic and patriotic songs. His compositions for the late Umm Kalthoum, the greatest Arab songster in history, gave both artists great fame.
Abdel Wahab fell in love with music and acting as a child, joining a drama troupe at the age of seven.
His singing was extremely popular in the Arab world and, during his lifetime, most Arab countries acclaimed him and his works with decorations. When he died at the age of 90, after a period of poor health, Egypt honored him with a huge military funeral at the Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo. A six-horse carriage procession, carrying his coffin, was led by the Prime and Foreign Ministers, followed by the Ministers of Defense, Interior and Culture. The train also included Arab ambassadors and scores of well-known actors, musicians and singers, many openly weeping as they walked behind the coffin.
With the passing away of Abdel Wahab, the Arab world has lost the founder of contemporary Arabic music. For more than half a century his composing and singing - he was still writing when he died - appealing to both young and old, made him a beloved figure. This is best reflected by a banner raised during the funeral procession which read: “Adieu to Egypt's fourth pyramid.” – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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