Egyptian icon Umm Kulthum makes Rolling Stone’s list of greatest singers of all time

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Egyptian icon Umm Kulthum has been featured on Rolling Stone magazine’s “200 Greatest Singers of All Time” list– the only Arab artist to have made the selection.

The singer was ranked as number 61 on the prestigious list.

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The Arab superstar was born on May 4, 1904 in a village in Egypt. Upon discovering her musical talent, her father would dress her up as a boy and take her with him when he performed traditional religious songs at weddings and holidays. As her popularity grew, Umm Kulthum began to venture off into other musical genres and eventually was known for her moving love songs.

The star mesmerized fans from the Arabian Gulf to Morocco with her soulful voice and powerful lyrics. Her influence in the region was so significant that millions of people crowded the streets to attend her funeral in Cairo when she died in 1975.

The Rolling Stone described Umm Kulthum as having “no real equivalent among singers in the West,” who “could blur gender in its lower register, conveyed breathtaking emotional range in complex songs that, across theme and wildly-ornamented variations, could easily last an hour, as she worked crowds like a fiery preacher.”

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