Trip to Umm Kulthum Museum
Last November, our on-campus students had a memorable trip to Umm Kulthum Museum located in one of Cairo’s most prominent districts, Zamalik. This small museum is solely dedicated to the legendary icon Umm Kulthum (1898 – 1975). Most Arabs share a deep attachment to the voice of “Kawkab elSharq” or “Voice of the East” as she is called; she is arguably the Arab world’s most treasured singer from the 1940s through the present and regarded as the greatest female singer in Arab music history.
Umm Kulthum’s stardom peaked during the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, where listeners all around the Arab World used to avidly wait for her 6-hour concerts, broadcast on the first Thursday of the month. These concerts cleared the streets of Cairo as people made their way home and to cafes to listen. She died in 1975 of heart failure and her funeral was packed by millions of mourners who carried her body to the mosque of al-Sayyid Husayn.
Learning the Arabic Language through music is a great method to pick up the proper pronunciation and get to know the Arabic culture. Listening to Arabic songs and singing along them is a fun and amusing way to widen from your vocabulary list. You can download one of Umm Kulthum’s epic songs like Enta Omri – (“You Are the love of my life”), Sirat el Houb (“Tale of Love”) or Alf Leila wa Leila (“One Thousand and One Nights”), learn its lyrics and enjoy!