Iconic Egyptian singer Abdel-Halim Hafez - Egypt Today
CAIRO – 29 March 2019: Cairo Opera House will commemorate the death anniversary of the iconic Egyptian singer Abdel-Halim Hafez on Sunday, March 31.
March 30, marks the 42nd death anniversary of Hafez, dubbed the Dark-Skinned Nightingale, who was one of Egypt’s greatest singers, as well as a producer, and an actor.
Hafez was born on June 21, 1929 in Halawat village. Hafez is actually not his real family name. His real name was Abdel Halim Ali Ismail Shabana, but Hafez Abdel Wahab, a radio executive, discovered him and in turn, Hafez took Abdel Wahab’s first name as his last.
Hafez along with his lifetime friends, the great Egyptian composers Mohammed Al-Mougi and Kamal-Al-Taweel, presented a new and unfamiliar style of music to the audiences. In return, the audience at the beginning neither accepted the young singer nor his style, receiving him with boos and revulsion.
After the July 23, 1952 Revolution, the Egyptian audience’s taste changed and Hafez started to gain more fans gradually. Hafez’s fame was strongly attached to the revolution; he sang plenty of patriotic songs that documented it, and some called him the “Revolution’s Voice” or the “Son of the Revolution”.
His songs after the revolution began to gain unprecedented popularity. The Egyptian cinema did not welcome Hafez at the beginning preferring to borrow only his voice. Yet, in 1955, Hafez debuted as an actor in a movie named “Lahn el-wafaa” (The Tune of Faithfulness) followed by “Ayamna el-Helwa” (Our Sweet Days) in the same year.
The booming cinematic success Hafez achieved resulted from his success as a singer in the first place. Hafez’s participation in “Our Sweet Days” along with veterans Omar el-Sherif and Ahmed Ramzy, established the idea of a younger cinema which prevailed afterwards. He stabilized his cinematic success later in a number of films such as “Ayam w Lialy” (Days and Nights), “Banat el-Youm” (Nowadays’ Girls), “El-Wisada el-Khalia” (The Abandoned Pillow), “ El-Khataya” (The Sins) among others.
The audience favored the new cinematic style presented by Hafez because of its vividness. The Egyptian audience, especially girls, started to view Hafez as a romance icon and their dream man, each of them wanting her sweetheart to visit her in a boat, exactly as he did in the “Ayam w Lialy” movie.