Mohammed Abdu (Arabic: محمد عبده; born June 12, 1949) is a Saudi singer who is renowned
across the Middle East and Arab world. He has been described as "Artist of the Arabs"
Muhammad Abdo (in the middle) with his friends in the Scouts in 1959.Mohammed Abdu was born on June 12, 1949in Al Shuqaiq, Jazan. His father, Abdul Othman Al-A'asiri, was a poor fisherman in Tihamah who had six children with his wife, Salma Nasr-Allah. At the time, Saudi Arabia at the time was in the midst of a smallpox epidemic, and almost all of their children died, including a three-year-old son named Mohammed. The couple vowed to name their next child in memory of him. The family then moved to Jeddah where their new son, Mohammed Abdu, was born. His father left his job as a fisherman and became a bricklayer. In 1953, Abdu Othman Al-A'asiri left the family after he fell ill, passing away before Mohammed took his first steps.
As a three-year-old orphan, Mohammed went with his mother and siblings to an orphanage house called Ribat Abu-Zinadah, a local Yemenite hostel for orphaned families. With the financial aid of the soon-to-be crown prince Faisal, the children were accepted. Mohammed Abdu commented on the home, saying "I learned how to live and depend on myself." After his graduation from sixth grade, he started taking multiple menial jobs until he joined a vocational institute to make a living for himself and his family. He eventually moved back with his family and bought a new house with the little money he was given as a graduation gift.
In 1989, his mother died, and Mohammed stopped singing altogether. It was "one of the saddest moments in my entire life," as he described. She was the love of his life and the person Abdu sang for. Abdu was so saddened by her death that he decided not to release any more albums from 1989 until 1997.
Finally, in 1997, he sang at a National Day celebration to an audience amazed at how mature his voice had become; his voice was marvellous and more tactful. That year, he went to London to sing at three concerts with Warda Al-Jazairia and released five albums in the following three months.
The next year saw his official comeback when he sang at the Abha Music Festival in 1998, releasing another three albums concurrently. Follow-up concerts in Qatar, Dubai, and Cairo were the much-needed efforts to put him back on the Arab musical map.
Mohammed Abdu began his music career at the beginning of the 1960s. He entered the world of singing at an early age, during his time at the Institute of Industrial Jeddah, where he graduated in 1963.
Abdu's music was based on the older generation's ageless talents and songs of deep heritage. He was credited with preserving many songs called mawrouth (the inherited songs) without changing them significantly. The Chaabyat albums that he released through his label "Voice of Al-Jazeerah" in the 1990s were his attempt at documenting that old tradition. These jalsat (sittings) were where his talent was best showcased; the oud was the instrument which he connected with most; only some musicians have shown this connection; these include Farid al-Atrash, Baligh Hamdi, and Talal Maddah. Abdu even sang one of Baligh's compositions, 'Sert Al-Houb' (Love Story), for Umm Kulthum on her 69th birthday.
His earliest songs that he used to sing were religious chants and anasheed (Islamic songs that people are allowed to sing) and reciting the Quran after prayer time or during his school's celebrations. Students and teachers alike used to gather around him to hear him sing at breaks. Fearing that he might quit school to follow a career as a singer, his mother asked him to sing only by invitation when the older singers were around so that her son would stay a pupil to these established singers. His voice and oud playing overcame this fear when jaws dropped after he gave a rendition of an old Yemeni adwar (old songs of known Maqama) known for their near impossibility for a young singer to master. These songs were old chants that Yemeni singers sang and competed against each other, to take each other to Tarab.
On 30th September 2021, Abdu performed at the opening ceremony of Expo 2020 in Dubai, UAE.