Umm Kulthum has been called the greatest singer in the Arabic speaking world in the 20th century. Born in 1904 the humble daughter of an Egyptian village imam, she went on to become a glamorous Cairo celebrity in her 20s, and soon after that, a cultural icon whose monthly live radio broadcasts brought much of Egypt to a standstill. She turned high poetry into popular culture. She extended musical forms with her virtuoso, extended vocal improvisations. Combining historical, religious, literary and musical passions, she inspired an enduring sense of national pride and left a legacy for the ages. Millions gathered for her 1975 funeral. With Umm Kulthum biographer Virginia Danielson as guide and guest, this program explores the life and music of a musical legend. Produced by Banning Eyre.
Interview: Virginia Danielson on Umm Kulthum