Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Oum Kalthoum

A couple weeks ago in one of my classes, we were dancing to Daret El Ayam, and one of the dancers mentioned that it sounded like Fakkarouni.  This was a very sharp observation, because both songs are Oum Kalthoum classics that share the same composer!  And since that composer is one of Egypt's most celebrated, I thought it would be a good idea to write a bit about it here.

Mohamed Abdel Wahab, the composer of  Daret El Ayam    

Mohamed Abdel Wahab, the composer of Daret El Ayam


Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Oum Kalthoum were each revered in their own right, but they did not work together for most of their careers.  They were more rivals.  It was only during the last 10 years of Oum Kalthoum's career that he composed for her.  His first song for her was Enta Omri (which I love!) and their collaboration also includes Daret El Ayam and Fakkarouni.

Um Kalthoum

Um Kalthoum

How they came to work together, and more broadly Um Kalthoum's importance to the Egyptian people and to the Arab world, is discussed in a fantastic documentary called A Voice Like Egypt, which you can get on Netflix.  This film is based on a book of the same name.  It is a really good thing for dancers to understand her importance.  But if you don't have time to read or watch it, this quote from Tabbouche's Arabic Music Blog sums it up:

Oum Kalthoum was not only a symbol of Egypt, but the symbol of a unified Arab world.
— Tabbouche's Arabic Music Blog

Reading the rest of his short post is a good start!

I'll leave with the original Oum Kalthoum recordings of both songs.  These are really good for dancers to be familiar with, and I hope that you enjoy them!  

Happy dancing until next time!

xo Alisa Greer