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Umm Kulthum: The Voice of Egypt (Essay Sample)


Taking examples from the readings attached, what factors led to Umm Kulthum being the Voice of Egypt? What social and political factors made it necessary that Egypt needed a voice and why was music a viable path for that representation? In other words what did music offer that other aspects of culture did not?
This paper analyzes the ways in which cultural preservation of the music and persona of the Egyptian singer Umm Kulthu ̄m has served the diverse political agendas of the Egyptian state and Sephardic, Arab, and Arab-American musicians. During the past two decades, state media and stylistically diverse cover versions have not only revived Umm Kulthu ̄m’s presence as part of a national and international cultural heritage, but also presented competing visions of her political significance.


Umm Kulthum the Voice of Egypt
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Umm Kulthum the Voice of Egypt
Umm Kulthum may not have been a feminist who championed women’s rights, but her efforts in the Egyptian musical stage remain outstanding. As Egyptians reminisce the nostalgic political and social past, the singer remains an icon of transformation and inspiration. The forty-odd years linked to the 1952 revolution marked the golden epoch in Egypt. Umm Kulthum utilized her musical prowess to rally audiences to pursue major political and social courses (Hirschkind, 2020). Kulthum’s music reflects her aspirations of Egyptian life and depicts the pinnacle of her ability to inspire social and political changes.
Kulthum’s contribution as the voice of Egypt emanates from her ability to revive Egypt’s political and social implications through classical Arab music, a time when a majority of contemporaries appeared more western. Her music befitted this role, as Kulthum’s style offered uniqueness in entertainment and correspondence (Hirschkind, 2020). At the outset of her career, a significant social development was the demonstrations by university students against the British. In a unique rejoinder, her songs resonated with the idea of the moment. For instance, her composition, “Nashid al-Amal, loosely translated as Song of Hope, ignited the youth who

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