Farid el Atrache

Les Années 30

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Asmahan, sister and co-star of the great Farid al-Atrache, has been called the only voice that can be compared with Umm Kulthum's, but with, as one Arab expert put it, more "tenderness and femininity." A master of the traditional sound, she was also on the cutting edge of the film-oriented and to some extent Western-oriented '40s "new music," and some of her most unforgettable songs were in that vein. Her brother sings with her on many of these superb songs -- traditional and eclectic -- from a '40s movie. Even more classic, perhaps, is the material on Atrache's own CD, from the years of his early stardom.