Umm Kulthum was arguably the greatest singer of the twentieth century Arab world. She set the model for Egyptian music. She was known as the people?s performer. How could a female be so popular in a male dominated society Although her extraordinary singing ability should have been enough, the perfectionist Umm Kulthum went to great lengths to not only be beloved but respected as well.
The circumstances for women making music early in and prior to Umm Kulthum?s career were extremely different than at times later in her career. Males dominated the music world for a long time. Eventually women were allowed to perform, but even this was usually in front of other women. They performed at special occasions such as weddings and holidays. The women would sing religious songs as well as performing recitations of the Qur?an, the Muslim holy book. The ?awalim, or learned women, are known as the female professional top performers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These women would perform ?under contract to individual patrons for specific occasions.? On the other end of the spectrum are the ghawazi dancers. These women, unveiled provocative
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