On an unprecedented night, reports from the Saudi Gazette stated that Saudi Arabia will honor the late legendary musician and composer Talal Maddah as part of Riyadh Season 2022 with the participation of tens of artists from the Middle East. Maddah, often coined with the nickname “the voice of Earth,” is considered to be a legendary Saudi musician who is characterized by his unique voice.
Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), announced on Sunday that he will meet the sons of Maddah to reach an agreement regarding the copyrights of their father’s work. He also called on all Arab artists to join the big night to honor Maddah. Shortly after his invitation, artists from across the Middle East started confirming their participation including Mohammed Abdo, Rashed Almajed, Abdulmajeed Abdullah, Asala, Ahlam, and more.
Who is Talal Maddah?
Maddah was born on Aug. 5, 1940, in Makkah and began his artistic career in the 1950s with the emulation of Hijaazis singers, such as Hassan Jawa and Mohammed Ali Sindi. He was then later introduced to Mr. Abbas Fayegg Ghazzawi (radio director) who encouraged him to come to the broadcast and record his first-ever song. The song was called “grower of roses” and has been an unqualified success that jumpstarted his career. It was also the first Saudi emotional song to be aired on Saudi Radio.
Maddah was also referred to as the “golden throat” after a career spanning almost five decades and having written over a thousand songs.
He was given the name “Ziryab” by the Egyptian musician Mohammed Abdel Wahab because of his skill on the oud (which is an instrument that is common in the Middle East and North Africa). Ziryab was the main performer at the Court of Cordoba and a prominent figure in the development of medieval Eastern music during his lifetime.
In addition to composing songs for prominent Arab singers including Mohammed Abdo, Warda The Algerian, Faiza Ahmed, Samira Said, Raja Belmalih, Abadi Al-Jawhar, and Etab, he worked on more than 80 albums. In addition, he was the first Saudi to perform on Saudi television and the first Saudi to broadcast his songs from London, Damascus, Cairo, Germany, the Netherlands, Prague, Moscow, and other nations. Moreover, he co-starred in the 1965 film “Fog Street” with the Lebanese singer Sabah.
A few days after turning 60, he passed away from a heart attack on Aug. 11, 2000, while performing live on television. Arab music and culture of the 20th century were forever changed by Maddah as he was renowned for his ability to play the oud.