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Laila Mourad - Ana wi enta asfourin

from Arabian Masters (The Golden Age) by Various

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Leila Mourad was an Egyptian singer and actress, and one of the most prominent superstars in Egypt and the entire Arab world in her era. Born Lillian Zaki Mourad Mordechai to an Egyptian Jewish family known for their patriotism in 1918 in the El Daher District in Cairo, she later changed her name to Leila Mourad as a stage-name. Leila married three times and divorced three times.

She made her first stage appearance, aged nine, at the Saalat Badi'a, one of Cairo's most successful Music Halls. The theatre had been founded in 1926 by the actress and dancer Badia Masabni, who became Mourad's patron.Her first film appearance, aged fifteen, was in the 1932 " Al-Dahaaya " (The Victims) which had originally been made as a silent film. Her song, The Day of Departure, was added as part of the transformation of the production into a "talkie"

In 1953, she was selected, over Umm Kulthum, as the official singer of the Egyptian revolution. Shortly thereafter, a rumor that Mourad had visited Israel, where she had family, and donated money to its military, raised suspicions of spying and caused some Arab radio stations to boycott her. She denied these allegations .No proof was found that she had contributed money to Israel's military; the Egyptian government investigated and concluded that the charges against the singer were without foundation.

Her decision to retire, aged 38, came with the failure of her last film, Al Habib al Majhoul (The Unknown Lover), the banning of her song, With Unity, Order, and Work, praising the Free Officers 1952 revolution and the outbreak of the 1956 war. Despite the immense popularity of her films her singing career was over-shadowed by Um Kulthum who dominated Egypt's musical landscape and, in 1949, had become president of the Musicians' Union. In the early 1950s other singers also popular with younger audiences, such as Abdel al Halim Hafez, did not get the same exposure on the radio as Um Kulthum.


from Arabian Masters (The Golden Age), released May 5, 2021


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