Om Kalsoum "Alf Leila Wa Leila"
Om Kalthoum occupies an undisputedly unique position in Oriental songs. She was known in Arabic as Kawkab Al-Shark or Star of the East for she was a most powerful symbol in the Middle East. She was also called El-Sett for she was seen as The Lady.
Regarded as the most gifted female voice of the twentieth century, she had a popularity that knew no boundaries and was as phenomenal as was her voice.
Not only was she considered a legend in the Arab countries, but her voice also reached many parts of the world at a time when Arabic music seemed like a mystery to much of the Western world.
She was born into a poor family in a small village, east of the Nile Delta in 1904. Umm Kalthoum was the youngest of three children and lived the normal simple life of the country. As a peasants daughter, she grew up under the influence of religious instructions. Umm Kalthoum was taught religious chants from her father, an imam (Qur'an reader) at a local mosque as a kind of education. With time, he became impressed with her keen memorization and the astonishing strength of her voice.