How an extraordinary woman shaped her career and legacy through war
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.
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
LAURA LOHMAN is an assistant professor in the Department of Music at California State University, Fullerton.
"A strong-willed talent, Umm Kulthum made her choices wisely and imposed these to lasting effect, as evidenced most recently by the publication of this impressive book."~Richard Henderson, The Wire: Adventures in Modern Music
"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
""(A) well-written, well-researched, and well-documented account of an interesting and highly relevant topic. The book offers a very welcome glimpse into the huge bulk of written sources to Umm Kulthum's life and afterlife; it interrogates wisely from the perspective of recent research in stardom and in the constructed nature of star images, and still it bears the marks of respect for the particular cultural context. (W)armly recommended for research and study.""~Søren Møller Sørensen, Danish Yearbook of Musicology
"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.""~Michael Frishkopf, editor of Music and Media in the Arab World
"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 Kulthūm at a crucial moment in modern Middle Eastern history.""~Martin Stokes, St. John's College, Oxford
""Lohman has sifted through a vast body of scholarly and popular literature to produce an exceptionally well-documented and clearly argued examination of one of the great musicians of the twentieth century. Kulthum emerges as a strong and sophisticated shaper of her media identity at a time when radio and television were in their infancy.""~James Ruchala, Journal of Folklore Research
""Laura Lohman's book represents a new and welcome critical analysis of the career of Egypt's most famous musical icon, the legendary singer Umm Kulthum.""~Daniel J. Gilman, Ethnomusicology
""A strong-willed talent, Umm Kulthum made her choices wisely and imposed these to lasting effect, as evidenced most recently by the publication of this impressive book.""~Richard Henderson, The Wire: Adventures in Modern Music
""This is only the second serious book in English on the great Egyptian singer (the other is Virginia Danielson's The Voice of Egypt, published in 1997). While Danielson's book was a scholarly biography, this work looks at how Umm Kulthum's reputation has endured and grown from the latter part of her life to the present.""~Edward Fox, Saudi Aramco World