b. Warda Flouki, c.1939, Paris, France. The daughter of a Lebanese mother and an Algerian father, Warda grew up in Paris’ Quartier Latin where her father owned Le TAM TAM, a nightclub specializing in Arabic music. From childhood Warda sang at the club, as a result of which, at the age of 14, she was invited to sing on a local radio programme for Arabic children. In 1956 the whole family was deported from France because of the fathers support of the Algerian Liberation Movement. They settled in Beirut, where Warda soon found work singing at Tanyos, a famous local nightspot. She changed her name to Warda Al Jazaira, to avoid confusion with another singer named Warda Flouki, and was discovered singing at Tanyos by composer/arranger Mohamed Abdel Wahab, who took control of her career. In 1959 she moved to Cairo at the invitation of the famous composer Riad Al Soumbati, who went on to write many successful songs for her. Three years later she was invited by Egypt’s President Nasser to sing on ‘Al Watan Al Akbar’, a song especially composed for the whole Arab world, performed by the most famous Arabic singers of the time. By now Warda was a star throughout North Africa and the Middle East. She appeared in the musical filmAlmaz Wau Al Hamoly and then in 1963 moved to newly independent Algeria where she married a high ranking army officer and retired from music to become a housewife. She came out of retirement in 1972 to accept an invitation from the president of Algeria to sing at the country’s celebration 10th anniversary of independence. She decided to resume her career in music, in spite of her husbands strong opposition, (she later divorced him). Returning to Egypt, she worked with many famous composers including Baligh Hamdy, who she later married and her old ‘musical godfather’ Mohamed Abdel Wahab. She became even more successful than before. Recording numerous hit songs, performing to Arab audiences throughout the world and appearing in a number of highly successful films, In 1997 the Hemisphere label released Warda, a compilation of her most recent hits. Offering the non-Arab world a rare chance to experience her warm passionate voice.
- Puteaux, France
- July 22, 1940