Why and how do singers like Umm Kulthum and Fairuz become national symbols?
While other exceptional women have garnered the public’s respect, they haven’t come close to the “legend” status among the masses. Painters, sculptors, actresses, writers and even scientists have failed to achieve the same level of fame.
On one side, an extraordinary voice can create an instant – and intimate – connection with its listeners. But there’s more to it, too. What Umm Kulthum and Fairuz did, through their immense talent and commitment to humanitarian causes, was inspire national pride. And they did it while dedicating a lifetime to their craft.
Every song indeed has a slew of talented people behind it; a composer, lyricist, and a musician – or musicians – collaborate tirelessly behind the scenes. But it’s the singer, the performer, who perfects it. The singer’s powerful timbre resonates with fans, the warm colour of their voice inspiring an inexplicable bond with thousands, if not millions, of people.
The choir is designed – through the work of a composer and conductor – to bring out the best, most emotional and most impactful vocal performance. And that vocal performance forms an unbreakable thread between artist and listener, whether you're seated in the first row or the last.
Poetry and music
At the height of their stardom, the late Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum and Lebanese artist Fairuz, now 87, perfectly combined singing, poetry, and melodies. Their exceptional voices conveyed beautiful turns of phrase against a backdrop of heartfelt compositions.
There is something very human about what they did. Their performances served as a personal and collective escape ritual bordering on magic. When fans went to their shows, they felt a strong sense of unity and joy as they momentarily forgot about the everyday nightmares that awaited them outside the auditorium.