She had the musical chops of Ella Fitzgerald, the public persona of Eleanor Roosevelt, and the audience of Elvis Presley. More than 30 years after Umm Kulthum's death, Egyptians young and old still celebrate the voice of their country's greatest singer.
Umm Kulthum's legendary concerts were broadcast live from Cairo, on the first Thursday of each month from the 1930s to the early '70s. The Arab world's buzz and bustle stopped, from Medina to Marrakesh, from Jeddah to Jerusalem. Shops closed. Families gathered to listen for four, five, even six hours of rapture.