Sublabel of the Belgian record reissue label Radio Martiko dedicated to the renowned Egyptian singer Om Kalsoum (1904-1975) who was active from the 1920s to the 1970s. The name “Souma Records” is called after Oum Kalthoum’s nickname “Souma” in her native Egypt.
A Night With Om Kalsoum
Enta Omri is Om Kalsoum’s most famous song, composed by Mohamed Abdel Wahab, who is still rightly regarded as a prominent musician and composer in Egypt. The creation of this song was the first long expected collaboration of two musical giants, which came at the repeated urging of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser. There was talk in Egypt on the streets and in the media about what was believed to be a cold relationship between the two legends. Finally, after years of estrangement, Mohamed Abdel Wahab took the initiative and offered Om Kalsoum a song by poet Ahmed Shafiq Kamel, for which he had just composed a musical score. To his surprise, she responded positively and started to like the theme upon hearing it a few times. After a month of rehearsals, Enta Omri was released in February 1964 to critical acclaim and packed performances. The event was so grand it was labeled The Cloud Meeting.
With Enta Omri, Abdel Wahab opened up the traditional repertoire of the diva to a more innovative style, for which the composer was known for. The use of the electric guitar and a long instrumental intro, fusing oriental themes with Western musical elements, made the song particularly special, securing its place in Egyptian musical history. Despite some criticism from other Egyptian composers from that era, the song was soon recognised as a milestone and opened a path to modernise Arabic music for many other musicians and singers. Enta Omri is loved by Arab and non-Arab audiences alike. Paying respect to the great diva, dozens of artists around the world have reinterpreted the song, adopting the intro’s catchy guitar melody in their compositions.
Mohamed Abdel Wahab wrote another big score for Om Kalsoum in 1972. In Laylet Hob (A Night of Love) we hear Arabic music and poetry in perfect symbiosis. The rich and lengthy instrumental intro is just a precursor of the emotion present in this song. The talent of the composer is underlined by how he utilises the traditional style of singing poetry in a more open and creative way. Abdel Wahab’s infusing of long and groovy interludes with varied tonality, rhythmical patterns and an overall unique approach, carries Om Kalsoum’s powerful voice and brings the song to an incredible climax. In this way, he gives more colour and depth to the music and the skilled soloists in the orchestra are finally able to breathe. Sensual rhythms, breaks and breathtaking solos of accordeon, guitar (Omar Khorshid), violin and organ (Hany Mehanna), have ensured this song is an all-time classic for belly dance routines.
Enta Omri and Laylat Hob are released by Souma Records