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  • Writer's pictureKornelia Binicewicz

Music of female singers from Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt

After in-depth research and exploration of Turkish female singers, I was happy to dive into the enormous legacy of female singers from the Arab world. The focus on the region has been part of my Turkish journey, from where many female singers from the 60s and 70s took inspiration. Arrangements of Lebanese and Egyptian songs represent a vast part of the Turkish repertoire. "Ladies of The Arab World, Vol. 1" is here!

The artists presented in the selection come from various backgrounds. Some of them were shining stars of the Arab world, while some of them languished in obscurity. This small anthology is my modest homage to all of them.

Naama, whose song is an opener of the selection, was an acknowledged Tunisian singer, performing on stage until the 90s. Fairuz, who needs no introduction, was a major and unbeaten competitor for many other singers from all the Middle Eastern countries. Salwa Al Katrib was a rewarded Lebanese singer and actress, recognised mostly for her acting career. Magida El Roumi – a generation younger than Fairuz, got recognition as a 14 years old girl singing Fairuz’s and Oum Kulthum's songs. Her brilliant musical career was credited to a skillful mix of pop and classical music. The case of Samira Tewfiq, who emigrated from Lebanon, sheds some light on the domination of Fairuz and Sabah on the Lebanese music scene in the 70s. Eventually, Samira got recognition mostly for her unique Beduine style and got remembered as the most popular Jordanian artist. Egyptian singer - Charifa Fadel is one of the most recognised. Her musical background is linked to the traditional and religious singing, which she successfully developed into a courageous and very feminine style, also represented by Layla Nazmi – another Egyptian female star. The story of Oulaya – an iconic Tunisian singer delivers many insights into the history of a border crossing Arabic music of the past decades. Sisters - Chedlia et Mahbouba Bouzaïane, performing under the stage name Zina et Aziza – got recognized in Tunisia not only as folk singers but mostly as very successful belly dancers. Souad Mahasen – the iconic Tunisian singer found her musical identity in the traditional Bedouin music. Another Lebanese singer of Syrian origin – Dahouk and a couple of the singers presented in the selection seemed to be forgotten. Even though they created beautiful music, their names faded away. Aida Chair and Najia Abdallah! I hope to come back to Tunisia as soon as possible to ask about you everywhere I can.


Naama – Oum Elgued Touil

Fairuz –Katabna Ouma Katabna

Salwa – Hawel Ya Khayal El Leil

Magida El Roumi – Am Yess’Alouni Aleyk

Fairuz - Kferhala

Charifa Fadel – Houbini

Aida Chair – Kamar Ayalali

Oulaya – Ghalou Zinek Hamel Hala

Najia Abdallah – Pourquoi pas?

Zina et Aziza – Ghodban Alaya Louaktach

Layla Nazmi – Macrabchi Chey

Samira Tewfiq – Ya Marhaba

Souad Mahasen – Yahlili Yamma

Dahouk – Ya Hawa B’Ghalbi

Salwa – Lama bada Yatassana

Fairuz – Layali Ash‘ Shemal Al Hazina

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