Umm Kulthum Interactive Timeline
Umm Kulthum is born 1898 - 1904

Born to a poor Egyptian family in the Nile Delta, her exact birth date is uncofirmed.

Umm Kulthum sings with her father early 1910's

Umm Kulthum tours with her father, singing at weddings and various religious functions. She had to dress as a boy since girls could not recite and sing Quranic verses in public.

Umm Kulthum's family moves to Cairo 1923

Umm Kulthum pursues music lessons with private teachers and begins holding performances.

Umm Kulthum hires a professional takht 1926

Umm Kulthum joins the ranks of prestigous singers now that she has a professional ensemble to accompany her powerful voice. She signs a recording contract with Gramaphone Records | PODCAST

Umm Kulthum goes on tour throughout the Middle East 1932

She performed in large cities, eg Beirut, Lebanon; Baghdad, Iraq; Damascus, Syria -- a testiment to her widespread appeal. See Lesson 1 | Watch Video

Umm Kulthum broadcasting concerts via the radio 1934

After inaugurating Radio Cairo, Umm Kulthum holds monthly radio concerts. Her renown exploded as households all across the Middle East and North Africa considered these broadcasts as almost sacred. See Lesson 2, 4 and 5

Umm Kulthum stars in her first film 1936

Despite her limited acting experience, UK stars in six films throughout her lifetime.

Umm Kulthum becomes her own manager 1938

A shrewd business woman, Umm Kulthum begins to negotiate her own contracts and produce her own concerts. See Lesson 6

Umm Kulthum is knighted 1944

King Farouk grants Umm Kulthum with the highest Egyptian order of Knighthood. The Egyptian order of Knighthood (Nishan Al-Kamal) had previously been reserved for royalty and politicians.

Egyptian Revolution 1952

A group of high-ranking Egyptian soldiers, calling themselves The free Officers, launch a coup d'etat, overthrowing the ruling King Farouk. Gamal Abdel Nasser becomes president. See Lesson 7

Umm Kulthum supports Gamal Abdel Nasser 1953

Umm Kulthum commissions poet Ahmed Rami to write a national song, titled “Egypt, Which is in My Mind and My Blood”, showing her support of the new government of Gamal Abdel Nasser See Lesson 7

Umm Kulthum partners with Mohammed Abdel Wahab 1965

As a contemporary of Umm Kulthum, Abdel Wahab was a highly regarded singer and songwriter who composed thousands of songs. In a relationship that ranged from rivalry to collaboration with Umm Kulthum, his most famous collaboration with her was his composition Inta Omri | See Lesson 3 and see Yalli Zara'tu-l Burtu'an education tool See Lesson 1Watch Video

Six-Day War 1967

Israel captures the Gaza Strip and Sinai peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria See Lesson 8

Umm Kulthum tours for Egypt 1967 - 1971

After the Six-Day war defeat, she travelled throughout Egypt and the Arab world, donating the proceeds of her performances to the government of Egypt. These concerts were much publicized and took on the character of state visits | See Lesson 8

Umm Kulthum performs in Paris 1967

This is Umm Kulthum's first performance outside the Arab world.

Umm Kulthum stops performing 1973

Kidney failure ends Umm Kulthum's career | Watch Video

Umm Kulthum dies 1975

Umm Kulthum dies from heart failure at around age 70. Millions of Egyptians and people from around the world crowd the streets of Cairo to pay their final respects at her funeral | Watch Video