Dubai: Google is celebrating the 110th birthday of the Syrian-Egyptian artist, Farid El Atrash on Monday. He was known in the Egyptian cinema as the King of Oud.
Al Atrash was born in Syria in 1910, to a druze Syrian father and a Lebanese mother. AS a young child he moved to Egypt with his family, escaping the French occupation in Syria in the 1920s.
Eventually, they were naturalized by the Egyptian government as citizens. Al Atrash’s mother regularly sang and played the oud at home, which spurred his musical interest at a young age.
He rose to fame due to his incredible Oud skills and by the 1930s, Al-Atrash began his professional singing career at privately owned Egyptian radio stations. He then moved up the ranks and was hired for the national radio station of Cairo as an oud player.
He regularly performed with his sister Asmahan, who was a talented singer. They worked together plenty until her untimely accidental death in 1940.
His rise to fame brought a young Farid Al Atrash to a life of nightclubs and plenty of love affair. Eventually, he was in debt and found himself at odds with his mother, who disapproved of his lifestyle. So he found himself in the arms of famous belly dancer Samia Gamal, who he co-starred with in the film ‘Habib Al Oumr’ in 1947, which was a huge success. Then they starred in ‘Afrita Hanaem’ in 1949.
Al Atrash generally ended up taking lead roles in films, where he was always typecast as the sad singer and preferred the name ‘Wahid’, which means lonely.
He also refused to get married, claiming that marriage kills art.
Al-Atrash had a long musical and acting career that lasted four decades. He was a highly regarded composer, singer and instrumentalist.