Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the “Iraqi Blackbird,” Afifa Iskandar’s 98th Birthday. Motivated by her love of poetry, Iskandar developed a broad inventory through the span of her career and is generally known as one of the most acclaimed female singers in Iraqi history.
Who was Afifa Iskandar?
Afifa Iskandar Estefan (Arabic: عفيفة إسكندر إصطيفان) was an Iraqi singer all through the middle of the 20th century. She was born on 10 December 1921 to an Iraqi-Armenian dad and a Greek mother in Mosul, Iraq. She was viewed as a standout amongst other female singers in Iraqi history. She was nicknamed the “Iraqi Blackbird” (شحرورة العراق).
Afifa Iskandar began singing at 5 years old, performing her first concert as a teenager in a small cabaret in the city of Erbil. At her first party in 1935, Afifa Iskandar sang Al maqam. At 12 years old, she wedded an Armenian man named Iskandar Estefan and took his last name. She additionally worked as an actress and showed up in numerous productions. In 1938, she traveled to Egypt to work with Badia Masabni, Taheyya Kariokka, and Mohamed Abdel Wahab.
Afifa Iskandar proceeded to delight crowds at home and around the region, in the end performing in the U.S. also, Europe too. Her talent to sing the music of maqam al-‘iraqi, a 400-year-old style weaving sung poetry together with traditional instrumentation, made her stand apart from her counterparts all through the Middle East.
All through her career, Afifa Iskandar performed for Iraqi monarchs and government leaders. Iskandar willfully retired following the nation’s 1979 political change. In spite of the fact that publicly silent, Iraq’s “blackbird” never lost her passion for singing, performing for companions and friends and family in private.
Afifa Iskandar’s music lives on today through songs like “Ya aqqid alhajibayn” and “Ikhlas meni” for the world to appreciate.
Afifa Iskandar passed on of cancer on 21 October 2012 in Baghdad.
On December 10, 2019, Google observed Afifa Iskandar’s 98th birthday celebration with a Google Doodle.