The Ramadan Singer: Mohamed Abdel-Muttalib

Illustration by Ali Mandalawi
Illustration by Ali Mandalawi

The Ramadan Singer: Mohamed Abdel-Muttalib

More than half a century ago, the late popular singer Mohamed Abdel Muttalib sang his eternal masterpiece "Ramadan Ganaa (Ramadan Has Come!)", which became an official announcement of the advent of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The song was written by the great poet, the late Hussein Tantawi, composed by the late musician Mahmoud al-Sharif, and it was sung for the first time by Abdel-Muttalib in 1965.

The song created with its words, melody and the pure voice of the late Abdul-Muttalib an unprecedented spiritual memory that has struck a chord with successive generations since then and has become like an official anthem heralding the coming of the month of Ramadan.

Mohamed Abdul-Muttalib Abdul-Aziz Al-Ahmar was born on Monday, August 13, 1910, in Shoubrakhit, Beheira Governorate.

In his childhood, Abdul-Muttalib was accustomed to hearing the holy Quran, religious songs as well as songs of the beginning of the twentieth century in Egypt. He also memorized the Qur’an and was familiar with the style of the famous recitation voices of those days.

He mastered the principles of the musical performance as he used to go to chanting concerts and listen to voices that were famous in the Arab world such as Sayed Darwish, Zakaria Ahmed, Saleh Abdel Hay, Badi’a Masabni and Muhammad Abdel Wahab. Abdel-Muttalib also worked in the band choir of the late composer, singer and actor Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab.

Abdul Muttalib’s special talent was not hidden for long. The first song Abdul Muttalib became famous for was in the early thirties. The song was “Betsalini bahbek leh (You Ask Me Why I Love You)”.

Despite being present in an artistic environment that was teeming with great voices, Abdul Muttalib was able to create for himself a distinct musical personality. He loved singing and loved his audience as they saluted and greeted him with a lot of respect and love

Abdul-Muttalib used to greet his audience with a serious, not fawning and cheerful smile. He also had a popular greeting through a constant smile, lowering of the head and remarkable delivery of greetings to the band and to the audience.

Abdul Muttalib's songs also appeared in the cinema. The Egyptian cinema had paid early attention to the necessity of introducing songs into the cinematic story, with the aim of explaining and influencing the development of events. Thus, Abdul Muttalib’s songs spread throughout the radio, then cinema, then television, and he became a singer for extended generations, and not limited to one generation.

Abdul-Muttalib passed away on Thursday, August 21, 1980, after a life that lasted seventy years and one week, but he left songs like lanterns that illuminate the path of his original art.

He also left to Ramadan's lyrical heritage the eternal "Ramadan Ganaa" song that Arab Muslims remember in all countries, as if it is the anthem that goes into play whenever the crescent of Ramadan appears.

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