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In 1967 Egypt and the Arab world suffered a devastating defeat by Israel in the Six-Day War. Though long past the age at which most singers would have retired, the sexagenarian Egyptian singer Umm Kulth m launched a multifaceted response to the defeat that not only sustained her career, but also expanded her international fame and shaped her legacy. By examining biographies, dramas, monuments, radio programming practices, and recent recordings, Laura Lohman delves into Umm Kulth m’s role in fashioning her image and the conflicting ways that her image and music have been interpreted since her death in 1975.
About the Author
LAURA LOHMAN is an assistant professor in the Department of Music at California State University, Fullerton.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Note on Transliteration
“A New Umm Kulth m”
For Country or Self?
Sustaining a Career, Shaping a Legacy
From Artist to Legend
Mother of Egypt or Erotic Partner?
An Evolving Heritage
What People are Saying About This
“This extraordinary work is solidly rooted in a meticulous reading and interpretation of primary Arabic sources. At all times culturally sensitive and respectful, Lohman is nevertheless unafraid to critique dominant legends and hagiographies. This groundbreaking volume pushes research on Umm Kulthum, Arab music, and Arab society in important new directions.”
"Laura Lohman's study on Umm Kulthum establishes nuanced and well-thought out correlations between the legendary singer's social and political activism, in light of the complex world in which she lived, particularly later in her professional career, and the various cultural discourses that defined her distinguished and enduring popular image. Richly documented and succinctly written, this book presents a remarkable example of how an individual artist creates her path to stardom."
A. J. Racy, Ph.D., author of Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab
“It is impossible to understand Arab culture since 1967 without a firm grasp of this remarkable individual and the media institutions that grew up around her in Egypt. This accomplished book focuses on the legacy of Umm Kulth m at a crucial moment in modern Middle Eastern history.”