The amal gamal ensemble - aether 3 - Umm Kulthum - Wikipedia

Umm Kulthum was born in the village of Tamay e-Zahayra, belonging to the city of El Senbellawein , Dakahlia Governorate , in the Nile Delta . Her birth date is unconfirmed, as birth registration was not enforced throughout the Arab world in that era. Some sources claim that she was born either on December 31, 1898; December 31, 1904; or May 4, 1904. She learned how to sing by listening to her father teach her older brother, Khalid. At a young age she showed exceptional singing talent. Her father, an imam at the local mosque, taught her to recite the Qur'an , and she is said to have memorized the entire book . When she was 12 years old, her father noticed her strength in singing so he asked her to join the family ensemble. She dressed as a boy in order for her father to not face disapprobation due to having a girl on stage. At the age of 16, she was noticed by Mohamed Aboul Ela, a modestly famous singer, who taught her the old classical Arab repertoire. A few years later, she met the famous composer and oudist Zakariyya Ahmad , who invited her to come to Cairo . Although she made several visits to Cairo in the early 1920s, she waited until 1923 before permanently moving there. She was invited on several occasions to the house of Amin Beh Al Mahdy, who taught her to play the oud, a type of lute. She developed a close relationship with Rawheya Al-Mahdi, Amin's daughter, and became her closest friend. Kulthum even attended Rawheya's daughter's wedding, although she normally preferred to avoid appearing in public (off stage).

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