R.I.P. Warda Al-Ghazaieryah: The Rose of The Arabs - وردة. Special Obit-Post.

Hi dear readers,

Enjoying yer time at the Audiotopia?

So many things to do, too little time to finish them, and being busy is a bit lame as time's sometimes... nothing but this ten-inch dicked bizotch tryina snatch ya all the time. Uh, so fer me I gotsa get backers to ma idle-town fer the time being. In the meantime I wanted to post this obit-post...

Death and Life are two points and the shortest distance between two points is a straight line as we all know. But, some live a life so creative and full of accomplishments that their end-point (Death per se) vanishes and melts away as their deeds immortalize them for ever and more.

Last prayers in Cairo, Friday 18|05|12.
Arab-music wise: Sad, sad news were everywhere lately about the death of Egyptian-Algerian singer Warda Al-Ghazaieryah (وردة الجزائرية). She died last Thursday in Cairo from a liver-transplant surgery complications that she had performed in the American Hospital in Paris. (Note to reader: BodegaPop's owner Gary Sullivan has a coupla good CDs of hers downloadable on some of his latest postings, so be sure to check these out).

Mourners cry the death of a 'Rose'.
Gary wondered if the little bittle pieces of information that he's read in her wiki-page weren't correct after I'd mentioned to him in a comment box that Warda's parents were actually Jewish. Correct. Yes, they were both Jewish. At Al-A'aliyah Islamic Cemetery her body now resides where millions of Arabs are still flocking there to Algiers the capital, to bed her their last farewells amidst tearful eyes and sunken hearts.
Pathé-Marconi poster.
Earliest picture.
Her death was a sad loss, indeed: she resembled beauty in both her voice and her heart. And, love and passion with her life and love. May her body rest in heavenly peace. She's also one of the best singers who sang Tarab music with more than 300 songs recorded between 1958 and 2010. After the death of Umm-Kalthum that has left a void in the classical Arab music in 1975, she quickly filled it by singing a song that Umm-Kalthoum herself was supposed to sing (Aw'aati Be'tehlaou: My Times Get Only Happier), and that got her famous all over the Arab world more than when she started singing way back in 1943 aged only 11-10 years old through a radio which transmitted to Arabs living in France and North-Africa while her parents were still in Paris. She was born in the Latin quarter on 22nd, July 1932 and her parents were both Moroccan-Jews (her father was Algerian on the side of his mother, her mother is said was a Lebanese Christian who taught her daughter church choir songs before she could start to speak, but this does not hold true to those who know her 'story').
Warda as a teenager, 50's.
They both fled the woes of WW-II as it broke in 1939, and immigrated illegally to France, with their kids (Warda was only 6), and had them new passports and identities when they visited Lebanon in 1949 to sign a contract for their daughter at one of Beirut's record labels (Pathé-Marconi - '49).

Warda, "with Love".
Before that, and in Paris, a Syrian manager offered her parents a chance to take her to Damascus to sing at the Officer's Club there. His name is still a mystery to most. Warda's parents took her back to Algiers after her singing career there was cut short by a sudden bout of illness. They stayed in Algiers after the war was over, trying again to resurrect her career, but to no avail. Reasons behind that were probably the lack of interest in young voices as it was known as the time of the 'Giants' like Umm-Kathoum, Layla Murad, Asmahan, Shadia. She left with her family back to France where her father had a small club restaurant (Tum-Tum), and a small hotel which he tried to lure more customers into it by announcing on-stage live sets with Warda as this young starlet, announced as 'La Juene Ouarda'. The trick didn't pan out, and yet again, her family decided to go back to Algiers and stay at the father's house to cut down on expenses (France was too much for them back at the time).
A rare picture of hers.
Then, after a short film stint in some early Algerian black and white films in the late-50's, a Lebanese film-director (Hilmi Raffleh, who was himself Jewish), invited her parents to Beirut first where she met with Omar Al-Cherif (err, he's also Jewish), and signed her first film contract in 1960 to take the lead role in the communist-propaganda film Almaz (And Abdu Al-Hamouli: a film made by Nasserite propagandists to denounce the early rule of Turkish Ottomans in old pre-revolution Egypt).

With Abdel-Wahab, singing, 60's.
President Jamal Abd Al-Naser asked Mohammed Abdel-Wahab (Wahab is also Jewish), to make her part of his singing choral that was commissioned to sing a nationalist, revolutionary operrette (Watani Al-Akbar - My Great Country), when rumours of a love-affair got circled around of her meeting one of his commanders by... chance after her car broke down on her way to Cairo. Intelligence sources were on fire to know who's this new girl trying to win the heart of El-Muchir Abdel-Hakim A'amir (he committed suicide after the 1967 war with Israel, allegedly), and when Nasser saw her, he liked her so much that he himself was said to erm, forget it. Anyways, it's from there where her career in Egypt started as she sang for the Nasserite Communist Party.
With singer Sayyed Makawwi.
She met almost every Egyptian composer and singer and was a hit even if her original country was Algeria, presumably. This was due to many facts, one of which was the collateral communist front that was axing so much power on all singers for 'popaganda' purposes. Warda was no exception: she had to follow that red path to stand on her hind legs in a very competitive atmos-fear of Arab singers who tried to win the liking of the communist parties around the Arab world, and a wide mass-appeal of Arab communist-to-the-core listeners thanks to an outside agenda that was active in the region for many years.
Abdel-Halim Hafez clapping to her.
In a Cairo recording studio
early 70's.
When she was famous around Cairo, another Syrian manager (Walid Al-Hakim) contacted her to sing at Adawa Dimashq (The Lights of Damascus) festival which included Wadeh Asafi, Shadia, and Mohammed Abdel-Muttalib from Egypt aired to a mass audience through the then-popular Radio Damascus. Her popularity rose to sky-high levels after that concert which took place in 1960. Two years later, Algiers declared it independence from the French, and she went there back to sing at her homeland where she married a high-ranking government officer (Jamal Qasiri) who forbade her from singing. Ten years later she found herself back in Cairo, where she was the call-for girl and among the many Egyptian singers and composers that she worked closely with during that 'red' phase were Abdel-Wahab, Sayyed Makkawi, Salah A-Sharnoubi, Helmi Bakkar, Ammar Al-Shareai, Ryad Assounbati, Mohammed Al-Mouji, Mohammed Hamza, Walid Sa'ad, and her second husband (whom she married later in 1972 for only one year) composer numero uno Baligh Hamdy.
Baligh and his wife Warda: A Love Story.

The odd coincidence in Warda's death was that her late husband Baligh Hamdy died after a liver surgery complications in September the 12th, 1993. He was the King of Arab Music, and Warda was the Queen. Both are gone now. May God rest their prettiful souls. Amen.
Warda Al-Jazaieryah.
I am not going to write more about Warda, or upload much of Warda's music: just one piece by Baligh (We Malo - So What), and another which is my favourite by this One-derful singer (Ale Eih Beyess Alouni 'Annak Ya Nour Eouini' - Say, They All Ask Me About You, Light of My Eyes). Take this as a solemn moment for one great loss of Arab music's best female artist.

Enjoy, and I promise I shall be back with a fuller post featuring more of her album-songs, LPs, and cassettes and info. This was just a salutatory post for her beautiful soul. R.I.P..

Warda - Ale Eih Beyess Alouni.

I am so lucky to have such a great e-company of dedicated soundistas. You guys rock. I roll now.

See ya soon with more posts, better sounds, and les' keep the good stuff comin'. Aite?

Update: Here is her Tribute-Post. Enjoy.



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