The Italian girl that won over the Arab world.

In music history, some artists stand out as shining stars, leaving an indelible mark on the world with their talent and charisma. One such luminary was Dalida, born Lolanda Cristina Gigliotti on January 17, 1933, in Cairo, Egypt.

Dalida was the poster child of 20th-century cosmopolitan Egyptian society. Her affair with fame began in 1954 when she was crowned Miss Egypt. This opportunity showed her a ticket to France, where she migrated with her family. Shortly after meeting her, French director Marc de Gastyne recognized her potential and encouraged her to pursue a music career in Paris. This young woman with a magnetic presence would soon make her mark in the entertainment world.

The late 1950s witnessed the dawn of Dalida’s music career; she mesmerized audiences with her captivating performances in Arabic and French, a testament to her mixed background. Her voice transcended linguistic barriers, uniting people of diverse cultures under the universal language of music.

Throughout her illustrious career, Dalida churned out a repertoire of chart-topping hits, each song a testament to her vocal prowess and emotional depth. “Bambino,” “Gondolier,” “Paroles, Paroles,” “Je suis malade,” and “Laissez-moi danser” are etched into the annals of musical history, leaving an enduring legacy.

Beyond the realm of music, Dalida’s artistic soul led her to explore acting as well. She graced the silver screen in films like “Rapt au Deuxième Bureau” (1958) and “L’Inconnue de Hong Kong” (1963), showcasing her versatility and captivating audiences with her on-screen presence.

Yet, Dalida’s journey to stardom was not without its share of tribulations. Despite her professional success, she grappled with personal demons that cast a shadow over her life. Tragedy struck her heart when her former lover, Italian singer Luigi Tenco, took his own life in 1967. The loss shattered her, leaving a void in her heart that was never fully healed.

In 1970, another former lover, Richard Chambray, also succumbed to the same fate. The cumulative weight of heartbreak and loss proved too much for Dalida to bear, and on May 3, 1987, she tragically left this world behind. The news of her death sent shockwaves through her fans, who mourned the loss of an iconic woman and a beloved artist.

Yet, despite the tragic end to her life, Dalida’s brilliance still lives on through her music. Her voice continues to echo through cafés in Cairo and Paris, captivating new generations and reminding older ones of her unparalleled talent and powerful hold on Arab and European audiences alike.

Today, Dalida remains an enduring symbol of strength and grace, reminding us that even the brightest stars face crushing struggles behind the glamour. Her life underscores music’s power to comfort both artists and audiences during difficult times, uniting them across generations and places.

Images were sourced from Pinterest and archival websites.

Nour Regaya is a Tunisian freelance writer based in Berlin, Germany. Her love for writing naturally merged with her fascination for art, leading her to pursue a career as a freelance writer specializing in art, culture, and fashion. She has contributed her voice and knowledge to various online and offline publications. To reach Nour, email her at or follow her on Instagram at @sylviaplaguee