Google Doodle commemorates singer Asmahan

Ahram Online , Wednesday 25 Nov 2015

Google celebrates late Syrian Egypt-based singer on her 103rd birthday


Born on 25 November 1912, "Amal Al-Atrash, better known by her stage name Asmahan, was one of the most acclaimed singers and actresses in Egypt during the 1930s and ‘40s," Google's commentary on it's new doodle reads.

"Sophie Diao’s animated Doodle honors Asmahan, paying tribute to her signature performing style and highlighting the intimate way she would look deeply into the camera and sing directly to her audience."

Asmahan, the Arab Druze singer and actress of Syrian origins, lived in Egypt throughout her career. She was the sister of renowned artist, composer, singer, and oud player, Farid Al-Atrash.

Asmahan was known for her powerful melodious voice, and the way she evoked both innovation and tarab, or a state of musical bliss. She rose to unprecedented fame, challenging the negative social perceptions on female performers.

In the book Asmahan's Secrets: Woman, War, and Song, Sherifa Zuhur describes Asmahan as one of the seven great singers of the century and one that acquired a rare gift of both, Western and Eastern aspects of musicality. Many critics consider Asmahan to be the only competition to Om Kalthoum.

Asmahan’s thriving career ended suddenly as she passed away in 1944 at the age of 31. Although she died in a car wreck, the circumstances of her death were unclear, prompting the Egyptian press to speculate about the singer's alleged espionage for the Allied forces.

Google has often devoted its Doodle to anniversaries, shedding light on many famous international events and figures. Google Doodle is a temporary alteration of its logo on its homepage.

Doodles have on several occasions been related to Egypt. In July 2014 one was dedicated to late Egyptian actor and filmmaker Farid Shawqi, another to prominent Egyptian author Sohair El-Qalamawy on her 103rd birthday, and Latifa Al-Zayyat, the late Egyptian scholar and author of The Open Door.

Most recently Google celebrated Egyptian painter Tahia Halim.

The Asmahan Doodle is regional and can be viewed in North Africa and the Middle East.

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