LONDON: In a vibrant tribute to the late Sudanese music icon Asma Hamza, Google on Monday dedicated its latest doodle to the composer and oud player.
Hamza, a trailblazer for women in the music industry in Sudan and the Arab world, was commemorated by Google on the anniversary of her win at the prestigious Sudanese music competition Laylat Al-Qadr Al-Kubra, in 1997.
The landmark victory propelled her to fame in a field that had been predominantly male dominated, marking a pivotal moment in her illustrious career.
Born in Sudan in 1932, Hamza, regarded as one of the most influential Arab musicians, nurtured dreams of becoming a singer. However, her delicate vocal cords made it impossible for her to fulfil the ambition, leading to her discovering a talent for whistling.
Recognizing her ability, her father procured an oud, a musical instrument similar to a lute but with a slimmer neck and no frets, to help Hamza hone her skills.
At a time when it was socially unacceptable for women in Sudan to produce music, through grit and determination she taught herself to play the oud, relying on her memory and innate musical sense.
Despite having to secretly compose many of her melodies, Hamza received unwavering support from her dad and as she matured, collaborated with numerous Arab artists, further solidifying her place in the music industry.
Her journey in breaking down gender barriers and paving the way for future female artists, led to her recognition as one of the first female composers in Sudan with her legacy continuing to inspire, even after her death in 2018, aged 86.
The Google doodle of Hamza has appeared throughout the Middle East and North Africa region in countries including Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, and the UAE.