What brings back happy memories?

Music, photographs and other time machines

A song or a photograph can take you back in time. Nostalgia is a bittersweet emotion: a harkening back to a lost past when everything seemed brighter and better.

People throughout the Arab world are moved by the songs of the Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum (1904-1975). She was the biggest Arab star of the twentieth century: when she performed the streets would empty as people flocked to see her sing. Now her throaty voice takes them back to a hopeful time of Arab unity, freedom and progress.

Things That Matter takes you by the hand to the world of Umm Kulthum, and lets you discover how young singers continue to be inspired by her music.