A video grab of the Algerian singer Warda, who died in Cairo in May 2012 at the age of 72.
A video grab of the Algerian singer Warda, who died in Cairo in May 2012 at the age of 72.

Warda Al Jazairia's melodious voice 'got to you'



I was 12 when invited to my first Warda concert. At the time, I had only heard the name, Warda Al Jazairia, and I found it exotic. But I wasn't at all familiar with her music.

I didn't know what to expect, but judging by the frenzied congestion of cars and buses transporting fans to the venue in Mount Lebanon, I understood that she was no ordinary artist.

Thousands of anxious fans had gathered. At 8pm sharp, I remember, the crowd started to chant her name, calling her on to the stage. Sure enough, she responded with a cappella rendition of Wahashtouni (I've missed you).

"I've missed you, my eyes have been longing for you and now that I see you, I remember the good old days", she sang, with her arms extended in an embrace and a big, hearty smile. It was enthralling. I wanted to hug her back.

The woman owned the stage - and the crowd. Her clear, melodious voice came out effortlessly and got to you so easily. It was one of those voices you could listen to for hours at a time, and still want more. I was too young to appreciate the depth or the meaning of her lyrics, yet I was engrossed by her performance.

She never broke her smile and her smile never affected her singing.

At times, she would burst into laughter at some fan's adoring gesture or at the flow of "Allah" and "Ya Salam" interjections that punctuated a long breath of song or an especially poetic lyric.

She was in her element. By the end of the performance, the entire crowd was almost in a hypnotic trance. People swayed with the movement of the pink handkerchief she held. The young adolescent I was couldn't begin to appreciate the artistic merits or the nonpareil lucidity of the great diva's singing voice.

This isn't to say that I later became an expert of the musical arts, but over the years it wasn't difficult to develop a deep admiration for the great Warda. I can't remember a time in the past two decades when I didn't have one of her cassettes or CDs in my car.

Her chirping accompanied many a lovers' promenade with my long-term boyfriend. A few years down the road, at our wedding, when I was asked to perform a song to my bridegroom, it was my favourite passage from Warda's song, Albi Saeed (You fill my heart with happiness), that I belted out.

It wasn't the best rendition of her timeless air, I admit, but almost everyone at the wedding, young and old, sang along.

Warda's appeal stopped at no barrier, her songs spoke to all generations. This was one of her greatest talents - the ability to reinvent herself and her musical genre.

It is a rare skill, especially in the Arab music scene, where artists often cast themselves in inflexible, time-bound moulds. Just last week, the London-based newspaper, Al Quds Al Arabi, published an interview with Warda bearing the headline: "Warda promises her fans a surprise soon."

I was anticipating what the beautiful lady would have up her sleeve next, but alas, death had the best of her before she could fulfil that promise.

Warda's passing is a great loss for Arabic music, although I can say with certainty that her voice will continue to enchant for years to come.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver review

Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Ed Skrein, Sir Anthony Hopkins
Rating: 2/5

'Top Gun: Maverick'

Rating: 4/5

Directed by: Joseph Kosinski

Starring: Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Ed Harris

Global institutions: BlackRock and KKR

US-based BlackRock is the world's largest asset manager, with $5.98 trillion of assets under management as of the end of last year. The New York firm run by Larry Fink provides investment management services to institutional clients and retail investors including governments, sovereign wealth funds, corporations, banks and charitable foundations around the world, through a variety of investment vehicles.

KKR & Co, or Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is a global private equity and investment firm with around $195 billion of assets as of the end of last year. The New York-based firm, founded by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, invests in multiple alternative asset classes through direct or fund-to-fund investments with a particular focus on infrastructure, technology, healthcare, real estate and energy.

 

'My Son'

Director: Christian Carion

Starring: James McAvoy, Claire Foy, Tom Cullen, Gary Lewis

Rating: 2/5

Breast cancer in men: the facts

1) Breast cancer is men is rare but can develop rapidly. It usually occurs in those over the ages of 60, but can occasionally affect younger men.

2) Symptoms can include a lump, discharge, swollen glands or a rash. 

3) People with a history of cancer in the family can be more susceptible. 

4) Treatments include surgery and chemotherapy but early diagnosis is the key. 

5) Anyone concerned is urged to contact their doctor

 

DUNE: PART TWO

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Timothee Chamalet, Zendaya, Austin Butler

Rating: 5/5

UAE finals day

Friday, April 13
Rugby Park, Dubai Sports City

3pm, UAE Conference: Dubai Tigers v Sharjah Wanderers
6.30pm, UAE Premiership: Dubai Exiles v Abu Dhabi Harlequins

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable
Amitav Ghosh, University of Chicago Press

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

if you go

The flights

Flydubai flies to Podgorica or nearby Tivat via Sarajevo from Dh2,155 return including taxes. Turkish Airlines flies from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Podgorica via Istanbul; alternatively, fly with Flydubai from Dubai to Belgrade and take a short flight with Montenegro Air to Podgorica. Etihad flies from Abu Dhabi to Podgorica via Belgrade. Flights cost from about Dh3,000 return including taxes. There are buses from Podgorica to Plav. 

The tour

While you can apply for a permit for the route yourself, it’s best to travel with an agency that will arrange it for you. These include Zbulo in Albania (www.zbulo.org) or Zalaz in Montenegro (www.zalaz.me).

 

If you go:
The flights: Etihad, Emirates, British Airways and Virgin all fly from the UAE to London from Dh2,700 return, including taxes
The tours: The Tour for Muggles usually runs several times a day, lasts about two-and-a-half hours and costs £14 (Dh67)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is on now at the Palace Theatre. Tickets need booking significantly in advance
Entrance to the Harry Potter exhibition at the House of MinaLima is free
The hotel: The grand, 1909-built Strand Palace Hotel is in a handy location near the Theatre District and several of the key Harry Potter filming and inspiration sites. The family rooms are spacious, with sofa beds that can accommodate children, and wooden shutters that keep out the light at night. Rooms cost from £170 (Dh808).

The Boy and the Heron

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: 5/5