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The Oud in Egyptian Cinema

The oud has always been the most popular Arabian instrument and it was finally brought to mainstream attention when it started to appear in the Egyptian Movie Industry around the early 1900s.

Mohamed Abdol Wahab

One of the first and most memorable on screen appearances of the oud was when Mohamed Abdol Wahab, a well known Egyptian singer and actor, used the oud in the famous Egyptian film“Al Warda Al Baida” (The White Rose). This movie followed the love story of a boy and a girl who are separated and not allowed to see each other. Mohamed Abdol Wahab uses the oud to become a musical star so he can be with the girl he loves. The musical film was a huge success and Mohamed Abdol Wahab would continue to make more musical films such as Yahya Al Hob, Youm Saeed, Ghazal Al Banat, and many more classic Egyptian works of cinematic art. Mohamed Abdol Wahab eventually left the movie industry to focus on his singing and composing, but he will forever be remembered as a key figure of Egyptian cinema and culture. He was a talented and accomplished actor, but he is remembered as one of the best Egyptian composers, singers, and oud players of all time. It is estimated that Mohamed Abdol Wahab composed over 1800 pieces in his career and he would even go on to compose and write the national anthems for Egypt, UAE, Tunisia, and Libya. Mohamed Abdol Wahab was a world renowned oud musician and he eventually received honors from highest orders and knight hoods from Oman, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, and of course Egypt. Unfortunately Mohamed Abdol Wahab passed away in 1991, but he will be remembered forever as one of the best Egyptian oud players, singers, and composers of all time since he redefined and spread oud music all over the world.

Oum Kolthom

In the same era, Oum Kolthom was also using the oud instrument and singing her way to musical stardom. Oum was born in Egypt around 1898 and was a very talented singer from a young age.  She quickly became the best singer in all of Egypt and all of the middle east. Her vocal ability was unmatched, for she had total control of her voice and could sing with so much emotion. Oum Kolthom starred in many movies but her most memorable performance was of the song “Ghanili Shwaya Shwaya” in the famous Egyptian film “Sallama”. The song uses the music of an oud and it was composed by the well known, Egyptian composer Zakaraya Ahmed. The song is about love, the power of music, and how music can heal a person. Oum Kalthom became the best Egyptian singer of all time and her work helped popularize the use of the oud. The legendary Oum Kalthom passed away in 1974 and more than 4 million people filled the streets of Cairo to attend her funeral. People loved Oum Kalthom’s music all over the world and she will be remembered as the voice of Egypt.

Alamz and Abdu al-Hamuli

Alamz and Abdu al-Hamuli is one of the most famous Egyptian films of all time and it is another love story that involves singing and playing the oud. Anyone familiar with Egyptian Cinema remembers the scenes of the actor playing Abdu al-Hamuli and Warda, a very famous middle eastern singer and actress, practicing their singing and composing while using the oud.

The Legendary Abd Al Haleem Hafeez

Nobody will forget about Abd Al Haleem Hafeez, for he is one of the most beloved and well known Egyptin musicians of all time. He was a composer, singer, oud player, and an actor. He acted in memorable movies such as “Abi foq al-Shagara” (My Father up a Tree) and “Lahn El Wafaa” (Song of Truth). The films were both huge successes but Abd Al Haleem Hafeez is better remembered as one of the best composers, oud players, and singers to ever live. One of his most famous songs is “Khosara” and it was recently used to make the song “Big Pimpin” by the American rapper named Jay-Z. Abd Al Haleem’s music will always be remembered, for he helped inspire the next generation of Egyptian oud players and singers.

Farid Al Altrash and his Oud

Farid Al Altrash was an Egyptian-Syrian composer who was a star in the Egyptian film industry as he starred in more than 30 films from the years 1941-1975. While he was a great actor, he was better known for his singing abilities, musical compositions, and his incredible oud playing. Many people refer to Farid Al Altrash as the “King of Oud” and his oud instrument was also famous. He played his oud everywhere and people remember it for its beautiful sound and patterns. Farid Al Altrash’s legendary oud was called the “mother of pearl” and it was made by one of the best oud makers to ever live. The same man that made the famous oud for Farid Al Altrash is actually the same person who made an oud for Ramy Aldy’s grandfather. Ramy’s grandfather used that oud to teach Ramy, and now Ramy Aldy is the master oud instructor at the School of Oud Online.

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