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Mohammed Abdel Wahhab
|Born||March 13, 1902|
|Died||May 4, 1991 (aged 89)|
Mohammed Abd el-Wahhab (Arabic: محمد عبد الوهاب, Egyptian Arabic: عبد الوهـاب Abd El-Wahhab), also transliterated Mohamed Abdel Wahab (March 13, 1902 – May 4, 1991) was a prominent 20th-century Egyptian singer, actor, and composer.
He's best known for his Romantic and Egyptian patriotic songs. He also composed "Ya Beladi" (also known as "Libya, Libya, Libya") the National anthem of Libya used by the Kingdom of Libya from 1951 to 1969 and again by the post-Gaddafi transitional government in 2011. He also composed the national anthem of Tunisia, "Humat al-Hima" as well as the United Arab Emirates national anthem "Ishy Bilady" and many Egyptian nationalist songs like "Ya Masr tam El-Hanna", "Hay Ala El-Falah", "Masr Nadetna falbena El-nedaa", "Oulo le Masr", "Hob El-watan Fard Alyi", "Sout El-Gamaheer", "Ya Nessmet El-Horria", "Sawae'd men Beladi".
Mohammed 'Abd al-Wahhab was born in 1902 in Cairo, Egypt, in a neighborhood called Bab El-Sheriyah, where there is now a statue of him. He began his singing career at an early age and made his first public performances at age seven at local productions. He was 13 when he made his first recording. Mohammed 'Abd al-Wahhab was a very close friend to compatriot singer Abdel Halim Hafez.
In 1933 'Abd al-Wahhab began composing his own style of Egyptian film musical after visiting Paris and familiarizing himself with French musical film. He introduced a lighthearted genre of musical film to Egyptian culture eventually composing eight musical comedies between 1933 and 1949. His films portrayed Western social elite and included music that veered off from the traditional Egyptian tune. He starred in his 1934 film The White Flower which broke records in attendance and still plays frequently in Egyptian theaters. In 1950 'Abd al-Wahhab left film to focus on being a more profound singer.
'Abd el-Wahhab composed more than 1820 songs. 'Abd al-Wahhab is considered to be one of the most innovative Egyptian musicians of all time, laying the foundation for a new era of Egyptian music with his use of non-local rhythms and refined oud playing.
Despite the fact that 'Abd el-Wahhab composed many songs and musical pieces of classical Arabic music, he was always criticized for his orientation to Western music. In fact, he introduced Western rhythms to Egyptian songs in a way appropriate to the known then very classical forms of Egypt songs. For example, in 1941, he introduced a waltz rhythm in his song "El Gandol," and, in 1957, he introduced a rock and roll rhythm in Abdel Halim Hafez's song "Ya Albi Ya Khali".
'Abd el-Wahhab played oud before the prominent Egyptian poet, Ahmed Shawqi, and acted in several movies. He composed ten songs for Umm Kulthum. He was the first Egyptian singer to move from silent-era acting to singing.
Mohammed 'Abd el-Wahhab died in his hometown Cairo, Egypt of heart failure on May 4, 1991.
'Abd el-Wahhab was fundamental in establishing a new Era of Egyptian music in his homeland and across the Arab world. He also left a mark on the Western world by exposing Egyptian music to Western classical and popular traditions.
He composed the United Arab Emirates' national anthem and The Libyan anthem.
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Selected Mohammed 'Abd al-Wahhab compositions from YouTube Web site: