Forty-one years after her death, Umm Kalthum continues to be the undisputed Diva of Arabic music.
Her unique songs and unparalleled body of work still capture the hearts and ears of the old and young in the Arab world.
The magic of Umm Kalthum’s career lies in the well crafted lyrics and the mesmerizing melodies that stretch over hour long songs.
She sang for some of the best composers of her time including Ahmed Rami, Muhamad Abdul Wahab and Baleegh Hamdi. The results are magic, and here's a sample:
1. "This life is a book and you are the thoughts."-- from A-ghdan Alqak أغداً ألقاك؟
“This life is a book and you are the thoughts. This life is countless nights and you are the time. This life is eyes and you are the sight. This life is a sky and you are its moon. Have mercy on this heart that aches for you, for tomorrow you will own it in between your hands”
Lyrics by: Al Hadi Adam
2. "All the things unsaid are filling my chest and it has narrowed," from Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám رباعيات الخيام
“My heart is exhausted from the love of beauty. All the things unsaid are filling my chest and it has narrowed. Oh God, is this thirst satisfying you, when I have fresh water running before me?”
3. "Our happiness will make the moon shine bright and the stars bigger," from Fakkarouni فكروني
“Our happiness will make the moon shine brighter, and the stars bigger. We will see the trees bloom before spring. We will forget all the sorrows of yesterday. Come, let’s catch the sweet days of our time. Life is not life without our encounters, and we will not live twice my love!”
Lyrics by Muhamad abdul Wahab
4. "Has my tenderness hardened your heart?" from Esa’al rouhak اسأل روحك
“Ask your heart. What changed it? What changed me is my suffering in your love. But you, what changed you? Has my tenderness hardened your heart even towards me? Has my acceptance made it easy for you to play with my heart?”
Lyrics by Muhamad abdul wahab
5. "Love appears in the eyes of the one who loves." from Madam teheb ما دام تحب
“If you are in love, then why deny it? Love appears in the eyes of the one who loves."
Lyrics by Ahmed Rami
6. "We ran and raced our shadows" from Al Atlal الأطلال
"And we walked in the moonlit path, joy skipping along ahead of us. And we laughed like two children together. And we ran and raced our shadows."
Lyrics by Ibrahim Naji
7. "We are defeated but we continue to love," from Siret el hobb سيرة الحب
“You who disparaged love, and badmouthed it over and over and said I don't know what… The defect is in you or in your lovers… But love, oh my soul… In all the world there is nothing sweeter than love… We become tired, we are defeated, we complain, but we continue to love”
Lyrics by Mursi jamil Aziz
8. "What is life, but a night like tonight?" from Alf lelah w lelah ألف ليلة وليلة
“My sweetheart. Let us live in the eyes of the night. And I will tell the sunlight come on over after one year, not before. In a night of love as sweet as one thousand and one nights. What is life, but a night like tonight?”
9. "Oh you who is more precious than my days and sweeter than my dreams," from Enta Omri إنت عمري
"Oh you who is more precious than my days. Oh you who is sweeter than my dreams. Take me to your longing take me. Pull me away from the universe."
10. "And I chose to stay away, and I learned how to become stubborn, and even abandon you. See? See what cruelty does to you?" from Esa’al rouhak اسأل روحك
“And I’ve changed little by little. I’ve changed and I couldn’t stop it. And I started forgetting my yearning to you, and hated my weakness and patience towards you. And I chose to stay away, and I learned how to become stubborn, and even abandon you. See? See what cruelty does to you?”