Mounira El Mahdeya

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Mounira El Mahdeya (born Zakiyya Hassan) (Arabic: منيرة المهدية‎) was an Egyptian singer born in 1885 in Alexandria; she died in 1965. The singer, better known under the nickname of "Sultana of the song" or "The Sultana", was considered to be the leading Egyptian singer between the two wars.

Career[edit]

She studied in a French nuns’ school, after which she began her career in singing and dancing in local clubs.

Later, she joined the theatre of Aziz Eid, known for encouraging and developing the talents of his actors, actors who have among them many future stars such as Fatma Rushdi. This is where Mounira El Mahdeya acquired her playing technique and her lyrical talent as an actress and singer where she will deploy in the future.

Having formed in contact with the theatrical traditions of the time, she had the typical appearance of actresses of her time, with large eyes blackened by Kohl makeup and short wavy hair. A characteristic opulence and an attractive face have made her a star typical of the tradition of the great Egyptian singers and divas.

Alexandria was the birthplace of the developed cinema in Egypt. Mounira El Mahdeya was proclaimed first Egyptian Muslim actress to appear on stage. Because of the strong cultural pressure of time constraints on the actresses, she began her career in 1917, interpreting male roles as Romeo and Mark Antony.

Before that, female roles were performed by actors or Christian or Jewish actresses. She also began to sing in opera with many popular Italian operas, her performances became very popular and increasingly demanded by the public.

It is from her stage experiences that other Muslim women artists have dared to live their art, as the actresses Bahige Hafez, Fatma Rushdi and Aziza Amir. Music and interpretations of Mounira El Mahdeya marked the beginning of the spread of Egyptian music called "light", which appeared after the Great War and contrary to traditional scholarly music. It is in this sense in the movement of women who were the spokesmen of the modernization, she fought for their recognition.

The great popularity of Mounira El Mahdeya, sharpened by the success of the film La Coquette in 1935, enabled her to build a network of fans from different backgrounds, both social and geographical, and a theatre now bears her name. It does not found a successor to the extent of her talent until later when Umm Kulthum appeared.

Sang to the kings and leaders in the celebration of national days, such as "National Day of Turkey" in front of Kemal Ataturk.

In the seventies, she was given a screen debut in a film by Hassan al-Imam, The sultana of the song (Soltanat al Tarab), produced and played by the artist Shtrifa Fadel.

Munira Mahdia died on March 12, 1965 at the age of eighty years after a long professional life.

Filmography[edit]

1935: The Coquette (El Ghandourah) stars Mounira El Mahdeya and Ahmed Allam Directed by Mario Volpi

Important works[edit]

  • Asmar Malak Rohi
  • Sweet dove.
  • Erkhy El Setara
  • The States of Yama States.
  • Baad El Eisha Yehla El Hezar We El Farfasha
  • Eshky of Maine Hawa.
  • Anna Hewitt.
  • I fell in love.
  • For God's peace.

Awards[edit]

  • 1926 Award of excellence in theatrical singing contest set up by the Ministry of Public Works
  • 1960 won the Medal of Merit First Class
  • 1961 First Class of the Egyptian National Award Order of Arts and Sciences

Honours[edit]

Mounira El Mahdeya was honoured by the King of Morocco and President of Tunisia and from the President of Turkey Kemal Ataturk, she was the only artist that he admired.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]