Get it here.
This week in the U.S., we lost Donna Summer; in the Arab world, they lost Warda, one of the greatest singers of the region.
Warda was born in France in 1939 to an Algerian father and Lebanese mother. She started her career very young--some reports suggest as early as 11 years old--singing at a club in Paris owned by her father. In 1958, the family moved to Beirut and with Algerian independence, Warda moved to Algeria, where she married and gave up her singing career for 10 years. In 1972, she was asked by the president to perform for the 10th anniversary of Algeria's independence, which she did, much to the chagrin of her husband; they divorced soon after. She dedicated the rest of her life to music, settling down with a composer in Cairo, where she died last night of a heart attack at the age of 72.
Arabic music scholar Daniel Caux: "How are we to define Warda's specificity which is so much easier to feel than to put into words? I think Warda plays on a specific emotional range combining successfully strength and frailty: on the one side will-power, self assertion, even challenge; on the other side sweetness and a tenderness implying some kind of vulnerability. But the paradox is that this vulnerability acts as a strength on the emotional level since it moves and fascinates us. In turn, and sometimes simultaneously, her voice gaining strength sings out to the whole audience. In doing so she never overstrains her voice to the extreme but she sooner changes its texture. Becoming more diffuse, her voice widens subtly till it fills the whole space."
Watch and listen to a short version of this song: