The Arab world is culturally diverse and artistically rich. It has been well known over the course of time for its good and varied music. Arabic music can range from classical concerts with a single song taking up one hour to modern pop songs. The following is a list of some of my favourite Arab singers of all time:
Professionally known as Fairuz (فيروز), Nouhad Haddad (نهاد حداد) was born in 1935. She is one of the most respected and acknowledged Lebanese singers of all time. Together with Umm Kulthum, Her talent was unveiled at a young age and she started her career in the music industry.
She worked with many different composers and musicians such as Mohammed Fleyfel, El Roumi and most importantly the El Rahbani Brothers. She later got married to one of the brothers, Assi. The brothers wrote a lot of songs for Fairuz, such as Nassam Alayna El Hawa or Ya Tayr. They also performed a lot of musical plays together including Achakhes and El Layl WelQandil.
Her songs also grew to become political in nature during the war era. She sang for Lebanon’s unity and independence. Until this day, her pure beautiful voice is still heard in many houses and cars.
A sample of her beautiful voice – Ya Tayr (oh bird):
2. KADEM EL SAHER
Number two in our list of the greatest Arab singers, Kadem El Saher (كاظم الساهر), the “Caesar of Arabic Song”, is an Iraqi musician and composer. His passion for music started when he was still a child listening to the radio. He wrote songs and learned the guitar and eventually enrolled at the Baghdad Music Academy.
His music ranges from romantic songs, to political and pop Arabic music. He has participated in many charity events and has earned many awards including the Medal of the Ambassador of the Iraqi song. He has released many albums including Hafiat Al Kadamain, one of the best.
Kadem’s songs are mostly in formal Arabic (i.e. Modern Standard Arabic), which is great for those learning Arabic. Thus, he will always be a preserver of Arabian Heritage.
Kazem Al Sahir – Al-layla ihsaasi ghareeb (tonight my feelings are strange):
3. UMM KULTHUM
Umm Kulthum (أم كلثوم), an Egyptian singer born around 1900, was and will always be regarded as one of the greatest Arab singers in history. She had a strong control over her voice which gave her a superb emotive vocal impact.
Her concerts were open to the public which increased her popularity. Her songs, extending to hours, involved the topics of love, longing and loss. She was greatly recognized by successive presidents of Egypt and other important persons.
Her music is said to have influenced not only all other Arab singers, but many international musicians too, gaining the admiration of e.g. Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin.
Her most famous songs are A Ghadan Alqak and Betfakker Fi Meen.
Umm Kulthum – A Ghadan Alqak (Tomorrow I see you):
4. FARID EL ATRASH
Farid El Atrash (فريد الأطرش) is one of the great music icons of the Arab world. He was a Syrian Egyptian artist also known as the “King Of the Oud”.
His successful career spanned more than four decades as he recorded around 400 songs and starred in 31 movies. His career started out by singing and performing on private Egyptian radio stations. His sister Asmahan was also very famous for her music and together they starred in movies and composed songs.
Some of the movies he performed in include Intisar El Shabab, Risalat Gharam and Hob El Kebeer.
His personal life was characterised by gambling and love affairs and sadly he soon found himself deep in debt. Nevertheless, he certainly belongs with the other great Arab singers.
Farid El Atrash – Mish Kifaya (not enough):
5. NANCY AJRAM
Nancy Ajram (نانسي عجرم) is a modern Lebanese singer, actor and a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador. She started her singing career at the early age of 15. She first began rising with her hits Akhasmak Ah, and Ah W Noss.
She became a pop icon in the Middle East and was described by Oprah as one of the most influential women in the Middle East.
Recently, maybe due to her motherhood, she has been taking a special interest in children’s songs. She released two children albums, Shakhbat and Super Nancy. Nancy’s career is still full of possibilities and opportunities.
Nancy Ajram – Ah We Noss:
6. ABDEL HALIM HAFEZ
Abdel Halim Hafez (عبد الحليم حافظ), also known as Al Andalib El Asmar, was probably the best known Egyptian singer. His musical talent was discovered at a young age already and he was sent to attend the Arabic Music Institute in Cairo.
He was named one of the most romantic and emotionally honest singers. He didn’t release many albums but mainly stuck to live performances.
He played many instruments too such as the oud, piano, clarinet, guitar and drums. He was also an actor, business man, composer, and music teacher.
At his death, some were reportedly overcome with such sadness and grief that they killed themselves. Even 40 years after his death (in 1977), his music is still played all around the Arab world.
One of his most famous songs is Qariat El Fingan (the coffee cup reader), which includes the famous line: al-Hubbu 3aleika huwa l-maktoob ya waladi (“love is what’s written for you”):
Assala Nasri (أصالة نصري) is a famous Syrian singer. She began her singing career at the surprising age of four. She started out by singing religious, patriotic and children’s songs, one of which was the theme song of the cartoon show, Hekayat Alamiya.
Her real breakthrough came when she released the album containing hits such as Law Taarafou. She was granted the Bahraini citizenship after spectacularly performing in the operetta Love and Loyalty in celebration of Bahrain’s independence.
With many popular albums and singles, Assala is definitely considered one of the best Arab singers of her time.
Asala – Ighdab (Be angry!):
8. RAGHEB ALAMA
Ragheb Alama (راغب علامة) is a famous Singer, composer and TV personality from Lebanon. His talent was discovered when he was a contestant in the talent show Studio El Fan in the 1980s where he won the platinum award. He released many successful albums and singles.
His song Albi Ashiqha was the first Arabic song to be made into a music video, according to an article on Yala.fm. He has won many music awards during his career.
In 2011 he became head judge of Arab Idol (the Arab version of American Idol).
In January 2013 there were reports that his bodyguards beat up the sons of the Mayor of Bir Hassan, because they were loitering around Ragheb’s house there, reports that Ragheb denied. He is a United Nations Ambassador for Climate Change.
Ragheb Alama – ishtaqt lak ana (I missed you):
Warda Al-Jazairia (وردة الجزائرية) was a well-known Lebanese Algerian singer born in France. She started singing patriotic Algerian songs at a very young age.
Her songs are pan-Arab. They urge for the unity of Arab countries. An interesting fact is that her husband forbade her from singing when they got married, but she revolted against his wishes eventually and re-started her singing career after getting divorced.
She starred in a few films as well. She died in 2012 and was buried in an Algerian cemetery reserved for national heroes.
Warda – al-Wada’ (The Farewell):
10. EHAB TAWFIK
Ehab Tawfik (إيهاب توفيق) is one of Egypt’s great singers. Like with most other great singers, his love for music started when he was a little kid.
His father Ahmed Tawfiq was a movie director and actor. Ehab’s warm voice and good lyrics are one of the many reasons behind his success. His friends convinced him to enter a talent competition, which was judged amongst others by Mohammed Abdel Wahab, who encouraged him to persevere on his musical path.
Ehab released many successful albums all rated highly by critics, including El Doniya and Ahla Samra. He participated in a concert in 2001 to raise money for Iraqis who had been injured in the first Gulf War.
Ehab is not only a great Arabic singer, but also someone who studies music academically. He obtained a Masters degree with a dissertation entitled “The Egyptian Song in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century” and gained a PhD in 2002 with his thesis “The Methods of Performing Arabic Singing in Egypt during the second half of the last century”.
Ehab Tawfiq – tatargi fia:
Arab culture is rich and full with inspirational music icons. I was only able to mention a few of the best Arab singers here in this article, so please let me know in the comments who else you think deserves to be included in the list.
- Haifa Wehbe – one of the most successful Arabic female singers of all time, known for very simple pop songs that stay in the ear.
- Amr Diab – an amazingly versatile Egyptian singer.
- Najwa Karam – not only does she have an amazing voice, but she was also the main judge on the TV show Arabs Got Talent.
I’ve liked Arab music for sometime though the problem I have had is working out which musicians are worth finding, so your recommendations are appreciated.
Wish to seek for the latest and evergreen arabic songs recorded by top male arabic singers.
Are kidding me ??? !!!!
Who is in their right mined will put Nancy who i really like ahead of Abdelhaleem hafez ?
Plus THE WHOLE WORLD AGRESS THAT omkalthoum IS THE GREATEST of all time but you.
I am sorry but you have missed
Mohammad Abdu has one of the purest voices. He as an icon in arabic music and an internationally known performer. Im very suprises you havent included him, but chose to include ‘ihab Tawfiq’ whos music literllay died out in the early 2000’s. Also you should consider ‘Tamer Hosni’ who is very well known and popular in the arab world, also internationally for his collaborations with the likes of Snoop Dog.
To Moe: where you got your information that that “THE WHOLE WORLD AGRESS THAT omkalthoum IS THE GREATEST of all time but you.”????
Let me ask you this question and answer it honestly: can you bear listening to omkalthoum for two days in a raw? I am sure you will not. same logic: when was last time you listended to her? probably a year back and it was forced on you.
probably people at that time had nothing to do in their lives and the state-owned broadcasting (with no competition) forced her on us. But honestly, it is a torture for anyone to listen to her. if you disagree with me, prove me wrong and go listen to her.
To moe :
It seems u are not ok!
Your mind has stopped working for sure!
Nancy Ajram should be on number 1 cuzzzzz she is the super star of all generations. Young pple,children,teenagers listen to her voice.she is international she is the fav arab singer of many foreigne pple. Do the kids listen to him??? Do the teenagers listen to him??? Do the young girls and boys listen to him and dance with hem and celebrate with his songs????
NANCY is the most popular super star who interduced herself and her amazing songs to the world perfectly
Enta eih,oul tani keda,ah w noss,lown ayounak,ma tegy hena,fi haqat,shakhbat shakhabit &…. she got so many love from those who dont know arabic language!!
She became an intl. Super star by her ah w noss album !!
Is abdelhaleem an intl.???
So dont say shit plz😒
Wadi El Safi & George Wassouf
Where is Amr Diab and George Wassouf
I agree with Fairuz And Kazim Alsaher the rest are not on the top
This is is just plain disrespectful. Putting anyone above Umm Kalthum is utter disrespect. Nancy Ajram over Abelhaleem Hafez? This is a joke.
What abou mohamed hamaki
where is tamer hosny
Amr diab must be # 0 if this list is true
Best singer since the beginning of time
Only “shahd barmada” nicest voice ever from syria i love her for ever.
Abdelhalim is the most influential of all times.
Am diab comes before kazem
cheb khaled & cheb mami
oh cmon now!Amr Diab reigns over that list!!!!Hosny is great too.Who has listened to Sami Yusuf!!!My oh my,He got me out of depression!!!
Are you kidding me?
Massari should be among the top 5
Amr Diab for sure the best and I don’t even speak Arabic,but he sings with passion,so you feel what he is singing.
Um-Kolthum in the 3rd place! Abd ELHalim in 5th and no Mohamed Fawzy or Amr Diab while Ehab Tawfik, Nancy and Ragheb are there !!
where is Najat Alsaghira..
I listen to Najat and Fairuz everyday
I live in Canada
Not accurate at all!
Put out Kadhem, Nancy, Ihab, Ragheb they’re bloody rubbish
Put in Amr Diab he’s the king and recommended for foreign audience!
What about Amr Diab
First of all Nancy really !!!! I mean she is good to listen to and I like her a lot but to be placed on the list is a crime on its own, same goes to the people that nominated Amr Diab, I mean really people what are you thinking about.
Secondly where is WADIEH EL SAFI if I may ask ???!!
Also the ranking of the list is totally inaccurate but let’s get things done one at a time
Geourge wassuf should replace rageab alama on the list
And seeing how much people support Amr Diab (Not my personal opinion ) maybe he can replace Ehab tawfiq
This is clearly based on opinion. People can believe whay they want. Fact is and no arab can deny this. Umm Kulthum and Abdel halim shoudl share the number 1 spot as they are the most influental and clearly has the greaters arab songs in history. Number 2: Mohammad Abdelwahab. 3: Fairuz. 4: Farid al atrash. 5: Kadim al saher. And name the rest I do not care
Errr we’re is etab first of all and why is nacy aj thier what is this list????
This list with all my respect is pullshit..
Abdul haleem hafez is the greatest of all time
First. There is no way that Nancy and Kadem are a head of the great Abdelhalim Hafez. Yes Fairouz sould be in the first five, but not the first. Second, There are some singers they shouldn’t be in the first ten of this list. My list is the following: Om Kalthoum, Mohammed Abdelwahab, Abdelhalim Hafez, Farid Alatrach, Warda and Fairouz. Faiza Ahmad, Najaf Alsaguira and Wadie safi
Haifa Wehbe is sooo much better than Umm Kalthoum and Fairuz! She should be #1 on the list.
(I am joking please don’t hurt me, it is only a joke..hahaha)
Thank you for your recommendation.
But i would like to recommend another top 10 list according my point of view.
1- Um Kolthom
2- Mohammed Abdulwahab
3- Wade’a Assafi
5- Sabah Fakhri
6- Abdul Halim Hafiz
8- Lotfi Boshnaq
10- Kazem Al Sahir
Amr Diab..should be on top
I agree with you that Fairuz deserves number one, she songs all type of musics eastern and western melodies. Fairuz really the Arab diva living within us. Fairuz has a very distinguished and unique voice. Fairuz sings our lives, our pains and our despairs and patriotism. She sings for everything someone can imagine sings for love, kids and family relations,mothers and fathers, cities and countries, seperation, feminism, national issue, Mohammed and Jesus, Jerusalem and Mecca, and for the peace to all the world.
Actually she is exceptional and rank number one
Abubakar Salim the best of all tym
where the fuck is Elissa?
1_cheb khaled 2_cheb mami 3_souad massi 4_warda
Asmahan,oum Kalthoum,Farid atrash,abdel halim,Warda,Fairuz,Illham al Madfai,Nazem Al Ghazali,Afifa iskander,sabah Feghali.
Najwa Karam,Melhem zein,Nassif zaytoon,Sherine,Kazem alsaherr,Hatem alIraqi,Haitham Youssef,Hussain al Jasmi,Cheb Khaled,Cheb mami,amr Diab, Ragheb alama,engham,samira saed,Ihab tawfik,george wassouf.
Nancy Ajram,tamer hosny,Elissa,haifa.
Ummkalthooum . Farid . Abdelhalim are all #1. They are the most known arab singers in the world .
Whoever put Amr Diab, Nancy Ajram or Ragheb Alama should be punished by the harshest of punishments. Where is Wadih El Safi?
I agree that Fairuz is number 1, but I think number 2 should be Umm Kulthum, followed by Abdel Halim hafiz, then Rageb Alami. Here is my list:
2. Umm Kulthum
3. Abdel Halim Hafiz
4. Ragheb Alama
5. KADEM EL SAHER
6. Mohammad Abdel Wahab
7. Amr Diab
8. Najwa Karam
10. Wade’a Asafi
Oops I forgot Nancy Ajarm, she should be number 5:
2. Umm Kulthum
3. Abdel Halim Hafiz
4. Ragheb Alama
5. Nancy Ajram
6. KADEM EL SAHER
7. Mohammad Abdel Wahab
8. Amr Diab
9. Najwa Karam
10. Sabah/Wade’a El Safi (Tie)
WHERE IS THE 1 AND ONLY THE MOST BIGGEST SUPER STAR PRESENTING THE ONE AND ONLY IRAQI SINGER 🌹😍❤️😘🤪 SAIF NABEEL😍😍😘😘😘❤️❤️🌹🌹
FAIRUZZZZZ #1 NOBODY CAN BEAT THE BEST SELLING MIDDLE EASTERN ARTIST IN HISTORY
are you fucking kidding me? wadih should be in the top 5
Where the Amal Maher, Shahda Barmada and Nai Barghouti fit in any list however, l have very limited knowledge to talk about the ranking.
I think fairouz is the best middle eastern singer of all time um koulthoum is second best
To Khalid, no one is better than Fayrouz, she sung for Palestine, and her voice echoes through the halls of every Arab country. She is so easy. She comes first, and Oum Kulthum second with Abdel Halim Hafez.
Are you kidding? Nancy in the list but George wassouf ain’t? Come on man
I agree with everyone’s comments,,, but according to the world of arabic music, Nancy ajram has scored so much, so she definately should be in the top ten. Not only in the middle east but the world at large… Everyone loves her, most pple today dont even knw Fairuz although she is and will always be a legend during her times and her unique poetic tone.
I am from Iran and know a little Arabic, but my list would be:
1) Um Kolthum
2) Asmahan Al-Atrash
3) Abdulhim Hafiz
4) Aziza Jalal
6) Fareed AlArrash
7) Sherine Abdulwahsb
8) Mohammad Abdu
9) Assala Nasri
10) Walid Tawfik
Kadim AlSair no. One legend arabic 👍😍
Ahlam al shamis is number one why not added 🤔
this is a bizzare list im sorry but no
who decided it was okay to put nancy ajram over Abdel-Halim Hafez have you lost your mind that is absolutely disgraceful you should be ashamed
also very disappointed to not see Umm Kulthum at the top of the list where she rightfully should be.
I am Persian and my knowledge of Arabic music is very limited but I love it, I believe that Arabic music is just beautiful and like a endless Ocean of love and words. With respect I also believe that whoever made this list has zero info about amazing Golden era of Arabic singers. There is no way that you can talk about Arabic songs without such a great names like Um Kalthum & Abdel Halim Hafez . I completely puzzled when I saw their name after other singers, like I have so much respect for all of arab singers but how in earth you can put Um Kalthum after Firuz, it’s actually impossible. Anyway as I mentioned my info of Arabic is not very complicated but here is my top ten list ( with respect to every single other Arabic singers) 1- UmKalthum 2- Abdelhalim Hafez 3- Farid El Atrash 4- Asmahan. 5- Fayruz 6_ warda El Jazayeri. 7_ Nejat El Sagheera 8- Huda Sultan. 9- Mayada El Hennawy 10- Fayezah Ahmed.
Melhem Baraket is number 5.