From the book: "La cultura de los árabes" (The arabian culture)
Author: Ikram Antaki 1988
Summary and translation by: Amar Lammar
The orchestra is not an arab tradition, but is the concept to be used to understand the arab music as
this exist to support the major art: The word.The concepts of "music" and "song" were not enough.
Then born a new word that doesn't have translation in any other language TARAB.
Tarab as in the dictionary: Rapture, ecstasy, pleasure of the senses.The whole concept is the absolute pleasure that only the melody can give you.
There's no tarab if the voice isn't beautiful, but also is not tarab if the poem sung is not beautiful as well and sung masterfully in a classical arabic and not in a popular arabic dialect.
To be consider beautiful, a voice must be powerful. Then such a clear voice as the one from the singer Fairuz will be consider by the experts of classical arabic music as a "cat's meow" while a voice that was able to last with out fault for half century, like Um Khaltoum voice, gets around it the unanimously recognition.
Um Khaltoum was known as "The lady of the arabian song" and "The star of the east", she was one of the most venerated singers, was the singer of King Faruk and then the favourite of Nasser and one of the most beloved of "Al Wafd" party.
Some journalists called her: "The singer of the hachachin" cause it's been said that she used to inhale
drugs on the huge handkerchief she wore in her recitals in order to sing for over two hours non stop.
Do not like of Um Khaltoum was symbol of anti-arab or dislike arabs.
The first belly dancer to perform on a Um Khalthoum song was Sohair Zaki, it was a big challenge but the president Mohamed Anwar named her : "the Um Khalthom of the dance".