Warda Al-Jazairia (Arabic: وردة الجزائرية 22 July 1939 - 17 May 2012) was an Algerian singer who was well known for her pan-Arabist songs and music. Her name literally meant Warda the Algerian, but she was commonly referred to as just Warda (Egyptian Arabic: ˈwæɾdæ) or as "The Algerian Rose" in the Western media.
Warda was born on July 22, 1939, in Puteaux, France, to a Lebanese mother and an Algerian father. She started singing at the age of eleven in 1951. She quickly became well known for her singing of patriotic Algerian songs. When she married in 1962, however, her husband forbade her to sing. In 1972, Algerian president Houari Boumediène asked her to sing to commemorate Algeria's independence, and she performed with an Egyptian orchestra. As a result her marriage broke up, and she dedicated her life to music.
She then moved to Egypt, where she married the composer Baligh Hamdi. She performed many of his songs and those of other Arabic composers, quickly rising to fame and releasing several albums per year. Additionally, she starred in a few films.
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 (Watani Al-Akbar). The song "My Great Homeland", was performed by the biggest stars at the time including Abdel Halim Hafez, Shadia, Sabah, Nagat Al-Saghira and Faiza Kamel. The song denounced colonialism and urged for a united Arab people to defeat foreign occupation (see Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire).
Warda died on 17 May 2012, in Cairo, Egypt, after suffering a cardiac arrest. She was 72 years old. On 19 May, her body was flown back to Algeria where she was given a state funeral, and was buried in Algiers' El Alia cemetery, which is reserved for national heroes.
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