Legendary Singer Warda al-Jazairia Dead at Age 73

Legendary Algerian singer Warda al-Jazairia passed away on Thursday at the age of 73 after suffering a heart attack at her residence in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

The French-born singer, commonly referred to as just Warda, was well known for her Egyptian songs and music.

Warda was born in Puteaux, France to a Lebanese mother and Algerian father. She started singing at the age of eleven in 1951. She quickly became well-known for her singing of patriotic Algerian songs. When she married in 1962, however, her husband forbade her to sing.

In 1972, the then Algerian president, Houari Boumédienne, asked her to sing to commemorate Algeria's independence, and she performed with an Egyptian orchestra. As a result her marriage broke up, and she dedicated her life to music.

She then moved to Egypt, where she married the composer Baligh Hamdi. She performed many of his songs and those of other Arabic composers, quickly rising to fame and releasing several albums per year. Additionally, she starred in a few films.

At the peak of pan-Arab nationalism, late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser requested that Warda be given a part in a production by Mohammed Abdel Wahhab entitled My Great Homeland (Watani Al-Akbar).

The song was performed by the biggest stars at the time including Abdel Halim Hafez, Shadia, Sabah, Nagat al-Saghira and Faida Kamel.

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