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Music of Arabic icon Um Kulthoum sung in Surrey tribute concert by Egyptian vocalist Marwa Nagy

Event at Bell theatre timed with opening of National Geographic’s ‘Beyond King Tut’ exhibit in Vancouver
Singer Marwa Nagy in a photo posted to

Popular Egyptian vocalist Marwa Nagy is coming to Surrey for a tribute concert staged in collaboration with the Beyond King Tut exhibit coming to Vancouver and Egyptian Canadian Cultural Society of BC.

Planned for Sunday, Oct. 30, the show at Bell Performing Arts Centre will present “The Life & Times of Um Kulthoum” in song, stories and film, with Nagy singing Kulthoum’s music backed by 12 members of the Canadian Arabic Orchestra.

The multimedia concert is presented by Ontario-based Festival of Arabic Music & Arts.

An icon in the Arabic world, Um Kulthoum (or Umm Kulthum, among other spellings) died in 1975 after a celebrated life on stage as “The Voice of Egypt,” as some have called her.

“To this day, her music is still some of the most popular in the Arabic world,” Omar Najjar, the festival’s PR manager, said in a phone call from Mississauga.


Najjar said the show at the Bell will start with a short film about Kulthoum’s life, followed by live performances of music recorded over six decades, from the 1920s through to her heyday in the 1960s and beyond.

“From her childhood days and acapella recitals to the apex of stardom, this program traces the life and times of (Kulthoum) from the early 1900s in Tamay Al Zahaya in Egypt’s Delta to the 70’s of the last century when she had earned the title of the fourth pyramid of Giza,” says an event post on

Tickets for the concert in Surrey range from $60 to $117 on the Bell theatre’s website (, or call 604-507-6355. “I am also happy to give your readers a 15% discount on ticket purchases with the discount code CAO15,” Najjar emailed.

He also sent a note about the spelling of the Arabic musician’s name: “There are may different versions of the name in English as there is no literal translation from Arabic, the list is endless because it depends how anyone would translate the sound. A few versions are: Um Kulthum, Um Kulthoum, Umm Kulthum, Umm Kulthoum, Om Kolthoum, Om Kulthom.”

The 1,062-seat Bell Performing Art Centre is located at Sullivan Heights Secondary, 6250 144 St., Surrey.

Opening Nov. 4, National Geographic’s “Beyond King Tut” is showcased at Vancouver Convention Centre, at Canada Place. The “immersive technology” exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of Tut’s tomb discovery in Egypt, considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. Details are found on

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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