Abdel Wahab and Umm Kulthum, the king and queen of Egyptian music from the 1920s on, represent two opposing approaches. While Kulthum was a traditionalist to the core, Abdel Wahab believed in learning from Western music. Yet he, too, was a musical nationalist, renewing rather than diluting Egyptian tradition. The first of these recordings, from his young prime, adds notes in English to superb music.
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