Today if you visit most Arabic and French Google Search engines you will find that they have a google doodle for “Warda Al-Jazairia”. If you haven’t heard of Warda Al-Jazairia before it is likely that you either do not speak Arabic or French. Warda Al-Jazairia was born on July 22, 1939 in Puteaux, France, to a Lebanese mother and an Algerian father. This proved beneficial in her later career being multi-lingual and fluent in Arabic and French.
The Warda Al-Jazairia story is however not as glamorous as many people may think, when she married in 1962 her then Muslim husband forbid her to sing. In 1972 on request of the Algerian president Houari Boumédienne she sang at the Algeria’s independence celebrations. This caused trouble at home and soon afterwards her marriage dissolved.
Warda Al-Jazairia was free at last and could pursue her singing career, she moved to Egypt where she married the composer Baligh Hamdi. Warda Al-Jazairia sang several of the songs that her husband composed, and quickly those of many other composers. She performed frequently and soon became a star in all rights. Warda Al-Jazairia was not only known for her singing but also done some acting and starred in leading roles.
At the height of Pan-Arabism, Gamal Abdel Nasser requested that Warda be given a part in a production by Mohammed Abdel Wahab titled My Great Homeland. The song was performed by the biggest stars at the time including Abdel Halim Hafez, Shadia, Sabah, Nagat Al-Saghira and Faida Kamel.
The song denounced colonialism and urged for a united Arab people to defeat foreign occupation. Warda Al-Jazairia died on May 17th, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt after having a heart attack at the age of 72. Warda Al-Jazairia have made such a big impression on the people of Algeria that she was flown back to Algeria and given a state burial in honor of her life and legacy and contributions to Algeria.
Warda Al-Jazairia Google Doodle
Today’s Google Doodle 22 July 2013 features a portrait drawing of which resembles a young Warda Al-Jazairia at the prime of her singing career.