Talal Maddah’s 78th Birthday – The western region of Saudi Arabia is known as the Hijaz—which means “the barrier.” Ironically, this region was the birthplace of renowned singer Talal Maddah, who used his musical talent to break down walls.
A vibrant musical center since pre-Islamic times, the Hijaz contains the holy cities of Medina and Mecca, birthplace of the prophet Muhammad. Maddah sang Hijazi songs with intricate melodies dating back thousands of years to the days when musicians from Mecca would sing for the crowds in the marketplace. Born in this musical city in 1940, Maddah often accompanied himself on the oud, a Hijazi stringed instrument seen in today’s Doodle.
Radio broadcasted Maddah’s voice throughout the Arab world, from Egypt to Lebanon. The combination of his poetic lyrics, voice (which earned him the nickname “Golden Throat”), and syncopated percussion excited listeners. The singer’s vocalizations were so powerful they seemed to come from the very earth itself, inspiring another nickname, “The Earth’s Voice.” His 1976 song “Maqadir” became the first Hijzai song to gain popularity throughout the region, at a time when o pan-Arab popular music existed given cultural and religious customs. But Maddah’s special talent—as well as his persistence and determination—allowed his voice to reach a new audience, bringing people together through the universal language of music.
Maddah went on to become a phenomenon throughout the Arab world, releasing numerous albums in Saudi Arabia. To this day, his recordings continue to reach new audiences, demonstrating the enduring power of music to open hearts and minds.
Happy birthday, Talal Maddah!
You can find more about Talal Maddah’s 78th Birthday on the official Google Doodle Page