This is Najia Ibrahim Bilal who’s better known as Kouka (1917-1979). In this scene she sings, dances and uses a sword. The scene is from the 1953 Egyptian film ‘Gharam Bosayna‘ (The Love of Bosayna غرام بثينة) in which she starred along with Yahia Shahine (1917-1994) and Aziza Helmy (1929-1994) who are both in the armchairs in this scene. On the floor playing the drum is the irrepressible Wedad Hamdi. Also starring was Abdul Ghani Qamar.
This is actress. singer and occasional dancer Kouka (1917-1979) in a scene from the 1955 Egyptian film ‘A Glass and a Cigarette’(سيجارة وكاس). The title of the film is reversed in Arabic and titled ‘Sigarah wa Kas’.
Born in 1917 in Sudan as Najia Ibrahim Bilal, Kouka went to Cairo where she became part of the troupe formed by Youssef Wahbi the famous Egyptian actor. She eventually was hired as a movie editor by Studio Misr but that same year she made her screen debut opposite Ali al Kassar. She appeared opposite US singer Paul Robeson in the 1937 British drama ‘Jericho’ which is also known as ‘Dark Sands’
In this film Kouka plays Azza, the best friend of the film’s main character Huda played by Samia Gamal. Samia Gamal’s character is a famous dancer who marries Mamdouh, played by Nabil el Alfi. Huda retires from dancing and helps Mamdouh set up a hospital. The head nurse Yolanda (Dalida) also has her sights on Mamdouh and Huda starts to believe that they’re having an affair. Huda returns to drinking and smoking.
Sadly, the film’s co-star Dalida took her own life in 1987.
Trivia: I understand that bellydancer Nemat Mokhtar married Kouka’s husband the Egyptian film director Niazi Mustafa (1911-1986) who was a infamous womanizer. In a ‘her or me’ situation Kouka made Niazi Mustafa chose and Nemat Mokhtar was quietly divorced. Niazi Mustafa was murdered in 1986.
Are these little girls fabulous or what?
This is Emirati singer Aitha el Menhali and the song is titled “Shams Al Mahaba”. The filming was done in Al Ain in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. AD is one of the seven emirates that form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Local friends who’ve watched the clip say the girls’ dance is more Indian style as there’s more stamping than would be seen in women’s dance here in the Gulf. What do you think?
Background 1: The seven emirates that make up the UAE are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai (probably the best known of the emirates), Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah (the name translates literally as ‘the top of the tent), Sharjah and Umm al Qwain. Abu Dhabi serves as the capital of the UAE.
Background 2: This isn’t the entire clip.
Thanks Mark B. for the singer ID.
This is Lebanese dancer Nabila Metwali performing on LBC (Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation). She was very popular in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s and I’m told that she is now living in the US.
This is bellydancer Gisele Bomentre performing during a game show on Lebanese tv.
Gisele became well known in the Middle East, firstly in Lebanon but later throughout the region where she performed extensively. Gisele was known for her sword work as you’ll see in this clip.
If you wanted to place Gisele in the Lebanese bellydance timeline, she’s of the same era as Amani, Samara and Australia’s Amera Eid. Gisele has since returned to her home country of Brazil where she teaches and performs and has developed a career as a singer.
Sorry about the jumps-and-bumps during this clip, its a conversion from an old VHS tape to digital.