Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ramallah Underground feat. Lethal Skillz - From the Caveمن الكهفMin il Kaheff

Ramallah Underground feat. Lethal Skillz - From the Cave

Words in the Sample:

They wanna starve the population, cuz when the people are hungry, they no longer think of resisting


I'm playing with death
I wanna know what is death toll here
I don't hear anything
Shut off the phone
Ask because nobody's been asking
Be they politician or diplomat
They're sittin on their chairs and discussing
Puttin their heads back relaxin as the homes in Lebanon and Gaza are being destroyed
It's time for us to flip off (ie give them the finger) the whole world cuz they're gonna keep talking and never do anything
So what do we wanna relax and wait, I wish
But it's for nothin
They forgot about us a long time ago
You try to hold yourself back when you see before you those who stood you up and those who carried you (???)
I'm not surprised if diabolical thoughts are goin round in your head
You start to call out to the world but the world's asleep
And even if it woke up it wouldn't hear what you're sayin

Here, it's like you can't win (literally, "one day's yours, a hundred are against you" this refers to the expression in Arabic يوم ليك يوم عليك which roughly translates as "win some, lose some")
There's barriers all around you, your wrists in handcuffs
Tell me what did you do?
I don't wanna hit the wall, I wish
But I am, just like this
My life is a bicycle tire
And now the chain is slipping
The time has come to hit the gas
Start pullin, start spreadin words in every direction
Because my words are my weapon


One by one, two by two, three by three
They're wiping us out
Let's get down to the shelters before they see us
They bombard us wherever we go, but they could never push us out
We stand strong to the last moment when they're missiles hit us

And the Arab leaders have abandoned us, they left us and ran to our enemy
Cuz they couldn't help us
They promised us with the future, but look where they've brought us?
2007 and the world is marching on and they've blown us up
They starved us, they wanna make us forget
For years we kept building and they suddenly came and destroyed us like that
Threatened us, tried to scare us, poisoned us with democracy
They didn't even let us live a normal life
They put us on a fuse and detonated us
Demolished us and wiped up our blood
All that and they still haven't rid us of our woes


I try to ignore it, but politics keeps pulling at me
I tell it "go away, I don't wanna"
It tells me "I'm a part of your life, you cannot resist me"

Ramallah Underground - من الكهف

بدهم يجوعوا الأهالي لأنو الناس لما يجوعو ما بوعودو يفكروا بالمقاومة

نازل العب بالموت , بدي اعرف ايش عدد الموت هون
مش سامع ولا صوت, اطفي التلفون اسأل لأنو ولا حد سائل
سواءاً سياسي أو دوبلوماسي , قاعدين ع هالكراسي وبتحدثوا
بروحوا بحوطوا روسهم و بتمددو , والبيوت في لبنان و غزة عم يتهدموا
اجا الوقت نرفع بعبوص لكل العالم لأنو راح يضلو يحكي وعمرو ما حيعمل
فئيش بدنا نضلنا نقنع و نستنا بتمنى , بس عالفاضي من زمان نسييو عنا
ساعة بتمسك حالك لما تشوف قدامك , اللي قامك واللي شالك
مش مستغرب اذا افكار جهنمية عم بدور ببالك
نازل بتنادي عالدنيا بس الدنيا نامت , وحتى اذا قامت ما حتسمع كلامك
ها ما حتسمع كلامك!!!!!
هون يوم معاك مية عليك , حواجز حواليك , كلبشات ع ايديك
قولي شو سويت , مابدي فوت بالحيط ياريت
بس انا فايت هيك هيك , حياتي عجل بسكليت
وهلأ فلت الجنزير اجا الوقت ادعس بنزين
ابدا شد ابدا مد حكيي , لكل النواحي , لأنو كلماتي سلاحي.

بدهم يجوعوا الأهالي لأنو الناس لما يجوعو ما بوعودو يفكروا بالمقاومة

11 22 33
عم يمحونا,هات لننزل عال ملاجئ قبل ما يشوفونا
بقصوفونا وين ما روحنا بس بحياتهم ما بطحونا
صامدون لأخر لحظة لصواريخكم ايصابونا
و رؤساء العرب سابونا تركونا و هربوا لعند عدونا
لأنو ما قدروا يعدونا , وعدونا بالمستقبل بس شوف لوين جابونا
2007 عالم بمشي دوغري و احنا فجرونا , جوعونا,بدهم ينسونا
قعدنا سنين نبني و اجو فجأة هيك هدونا , هددونا و خوفونا
بالديمقراطية سممونا,حتى نعيش حياة طبيعية ما خلونا
حطونا عخط النار ونسفونا دمرونا نشفولنا دمنا
كل هاد و لسا ما خلصونا من همنا.

بحاول اطنش بس السياسة بتشدني
بقولها افلتي ما بدي
بتقولي انا جزء من حياتك
مش حتقدر تمشي ضدي.

Lyrics transcription from here

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tamer Hosny - Loveتامر حسني - حبHob

Tamer Hosny - Love

Where was love before I loved you
Tomorrow, no I don't want tomorrow unless with you

If I will live calling one word may it be your name
If I will live dreaming of tomorrow may it be from you
You are my favorite topic
My life began anew when I first saw you

If you leave me I will not live again after you
I have never experienced affection except when I was beside you
Oh you who is inside my heart I've inscribed your image
All my hope in my life is to remain in your embrace

تامر حسني - حب

حب كان فين الحب قبل ما أهواك
بكرة مش عايز بكرة الا و أنا وياك
حب كان فين الحب قبل ما أهواك
بكرة مش عايز بكرة الا و أنا وياك
لو حعيش أنده بكلمة تبقى أسمك
لو حعيش أحلم ببكرة يبقى منك
يلى أحلى سيرة لما بتيجى سيرتك
يلى عمرى أبتدى من يوم ما شوفتك
لو حعيش أنده بكلمة تبقى أسمك
لو حعيش أحلم ببكرة يبقى منك
يلى أحلى سيرة لما بتيجى سيرتك
يلى عمرى أبتدى من يوم ما شوفتك

حب كان فين الحب قبل ما أهواك
بكرة مش عايز بكرة الا و أنا وياك
حب كان فين الحب قبل ما أهواك
بكرة مش عايز بكرة الا و أنا وياك
لو تسبنى مش حعيش أنا تانى بعدك
عمرى ماشوفت الحنان غير و انا جنبك
يلى جوه جوه قلبى حفرت صورتك
كل أملى فى الحياة أفضل فى حضنك
لو حعيش أنده بكلمة تبقى أسمك
لو حعيش أحلم ببكرة يبقى منك
يلى أحلى سيرة لما بتيجى سيرتك
يلى عمرى أبتدى من يوم ما شوفتك

Lyrics transcription from

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mira Awad - Our Relationshipميرا عوض - علاقتناOlaqatuna

Mira Awad (Arabic ميرا عوض Hebrew מירה עווד) is an Arab-Israeli. Her father is a Palestinian from the Galilee and her mother is Bulgarian. In recent years, she has become famous and controversial as the first person of Arab descent to represent Israel in Eurovision, singing in Arabic. This, of course, was controversial for both Israelis and Arabs, since some Israelis see non-Jews as non-Israeli, while many Palestinians felt that Mira was being used as a token to falsely portray Israel as a pluralistic society. Still, other Arabs and Palestinians outside of Israel were outraged because Mira is an Arab with Israeli citizenship, pointing to tensions between Arabs and Palestinians descended from families that remained in Israel.

This song, sung in Modern Standard Arabic, is one of the most lyrically strange songs available on the site. Reader SimplyME has provided us with more info. Mira reportedly writes her own songs.

Mira Awad - Our Relationship

Our relationship has bonds of blood
It has bleeding blonds
A philosophical bleeding
A bleeding that has beauty
Our relationship has closeness, and distance
It is full of contradictions
Contradictions that make me find beauty in the bleeding

Our relationship has a connection of birth
It has a connection of miscarriage (or abortion??? the word used here إجهاض is normally the translation for "abortion", which in Arabic is a "forced miscarriage. I guess miscarriage makes sense here in a metaphorical sense, but this is the first time I have ever seen this word used metaphorically. This is extremely provocative language for an Arabic song)
A miscarriage of ideas
A miscarriage with spirituality

Our relationship is full of death, full of life
It's full of madness
Madness that makes me find spirituality in the miscarriage

ميرا عوض (מירה עווד) - علاقتنا

علاقتنا فيها ربط الدم
فيها روابط نزيف
نزيف فلسفي
نزيف ذي جماليات
علاقتنا فيها قرب فيها بعد
فيها تناقضات
تناقضات تجعلني أجد في النزيف جماليات

علاقتنا فيها صلة ولاد
فيها صلة إجهاض
إجهاض فكري
إجهاض ذي روحانيات
علاقتنا فيها موت فيها حياة
فيها جنونيات
جنونيات تجعلني أجد في الإجهاض روحانيات

Amr Diab - With Herعمرو دياب - وياهWayah

Amr Diab - With Her

This is what I've always wanted
For chance to bring her together with me
Why would I waste the chance of a lifetime?
No way

She's looking into my eyes
This is more than I've ever dreamed of
This is the day that I've been waiting for
So I could say...

With her
Life will be sweeter by her side
This is what I've been hoping for
And when I see her, I feel
That she is the most beautiful and special person
She made my heart tell me, "that's it, calm down, we've found her"

Yeaaah, I'm gonna say it again and again
She's right here beside me, not far away
My heart's so happy it's like a holiday
Waiting for her

C'mon, the time has come
I'm not gonna wait another day
I gotta tell her I've had my eyes on her for so long

عمرو دياب - وياه

ده اللي كان نفسي فيه
لو تيجي صدفة تجمعني به
فرصة عمري أضيعها ليه ؟
مش معقول

عيني قدام عنيه
ده أكتر من اللي حلمت به
ده اليوم اللي أنا مستنيه
علشان أقول

الحياة هتحلي وأنا معاه
هو ده اللي أنا بتمناه
واللي عيني شايفاه إحساس
أنه أحلي وأغلي الناس
خلي قلبي يقولي خلاص
أهدى بقه لقيناه

أيوه هقول وأعيد
مهو بقه جنبي ومش بعيد
فرحة قلبي كأنه عيد

يا الله أهو جه الأوان
مش هستنى اليوم كمان
لازم أقوله انا من زمان
عيني عليه

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fairuz - Oh Lauraفيروز - يا لور حبكYa Laure Hubbuki

This song appeared in the play Meis al Rim (ميس الريم) written by the Rahbani Brothers and starring Fairouz. I have supplied here the video from the play, in which Joseph Nassif (جوزيف نصيف) is singing, in addition to the mp3 or a version recorded by Fairouz.

I've translated the name Laur as Laura because it is the same name from the same root, referring to the Laurel tree which in Arabic can also be called شجر الغار.

Here is the Fairuz version:

You can click here to download it

Fairuz - Oh Laura

Oh Laura
Your love has tormented my heart
And I had given you my love and affection
Don't you recall our wonderful nights together
And the pledge we made to be true to each other?

The night, the breeze and the wailing nightingale
And the veil of melodies, as my heart loved you
So many dreams of love and purity blossomed
In them, days seemed like slumber

The night, the dreams and the wet shore
Longing, song, and the calm countryside
Those were such fine days, so wonderful and pure
When the melodies sang of loyalty and devotion

فيروز - يا لور حبك

يا لور حبك قد لوّع الفؤاد
وقد وهبتك الحب والوداد
ألا تذكري ليالي الصفا
وعهداً عهدناه على الوفا

الليل والأنسام والبلبل الشاكي
وسترة الأنغام والقلب يهواكِ
كم أزهرت أحلام بالحب والصفا
ظهرت بها الأيام مثل الغفا

الليل والأحلام والشاطئ النادي
والشوق والأنغام والموطن الهادي
يا طيبها أيام أحلى من الصفا
وتنشد الأنغام على الوفا

Friday, September 4, 2009

Makhoul Qassouf - If Only the Moon...مخول قاصوف - ريتو القمرReito al Amar

Recorded in 1982, sung by Sami Hawat (سامي حواط)

Makhoul Qassouf - If Only the Moon...

If only the moon would come down as bread
Upon our houses and our fields
On wrecked homes
On tired hearts
Weariness has returned
All of the poems are sleeping
And the months bleed months

There's nothing left on the roads except sand and discarded plastic bags
On the mouth of the plains is a pile of bombs
A pile of stone and rain
Columns, like the people, bent over leaning

We've become images dried on the walls
And we fear the distance
We've become like this sound, echoing off water
They said it was done and the storm had passed
The morning has grown old
The darkness is still like swords on our necks
And the morning still has not come

It's early, my friend
Look at the black sky and the night crawling along its borders

If only the moon would descend upon the abandoned barricades
And lay mines of light in our hands so that we can blow up the graves
And meet the night head on in the squares
And the stones of the buried streets would awaken to our cries and rise up

مخول قاصوف - ريتو القمر

ريته القمر
ينزل خبز تنور
ع بيوتنا
ع حقولنا و يدور
ع بيوت خرباني
و قلوب تعباني

رجع الضجر
كل القصايد غافيه
و شهرْ ينزُف شهرْ

ما ضَّلْ عا الطرقاتْ
غير الرمل و كياسْ مشلُوحة
ع تمّ السهل
كومة قنابل
كومة حجارْ و شتي
عواميدْ مثل الناسْ
. . . عمْ تتكي تكي

صرنا صورْ
يبست على الحيطان
و نخاف المدى
صرنا متل هالصوت لميّ يرجّع صدى
قالوا خلص و العاصفة راحت
صار الصبح ختيار
بعدها العتمة سيوف
فوق رقابنا
بعده الصبح ما صار

بكير يا رفيقي
ليك السما سودا
و الليل عم يزحف على حدودها

ريته القمر
ينزل على متاريس مهجوره
يلغم ايدينا نور
نفجر فيها القبور
نهجم ع وجه الليلْ بالساحات
نخلّي حجارْ الشارع المقهور
تُوعى على صرخاتنا و تثور

Lyrics transcription from here

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mohamed Abdel Wahhab - Don't Kiss Me on the Eyeمحمد عبد الوهاب - بلاش تبوسني في عنياBalash Tebousni fi Anaya

This song requires a piece of cultural knowledge. When kissing someone goodbye, if it is going to be a long separation or even permanent farewell you might kiss them on their eye. Thus, Mohamed Abdel Wahhab says "don't kiss me on the eye" because he does not want it to be a final farewell.

There is a common misunderstanding of this lyric to be بلاش تبصني في عنيا by some because this phrase, which means "don't look me in the eye", sounds a lot like بلاش تبوسني في عنيا and is a much more common phrase.

I could not find the full lyrics online and don't dare try to decipher them since they are very long and the recording is old. If anyone can find the full lyrics it would be appreciated.

Mohamed Abdel Wahab - Don't Kiss Me on the Eye

Don't kiss me on the eye
Kissing the eye means splitting up
But maybe one day you'll come back to me
And my heart's dream will come true

Let's say goodbye without kissing
So that I can have some hope
Don't kiss me on the eye

محمد عبد الوهاب - بلاش تبوسني في عنيا

بلاش تبوسني في عينيا
دي البوسه في العين تفرق
يمكن في يوم ترجع اليا
والقلب حلمه يتحقق
خلي الوداع من غير قبل
علشان يكون عندي أمل
وبلاش تبوسني في عينيا

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Abdel Rizzaq al-Jabbouri - Truck Driverعبد الرزاق الجبوري - المرهدنEl Murahdan (Ya Shofeer al Qamara)

This song and video clip are particularly interesting because they really go to the heart of what independent or at least non-corporate music in the Arab World means, and reflects cultural and musical reality of what really is the majority of the world's Arab population.

This is a song and video produced by a local production company, likely recorded in the absence of much digital technology aside from the synthesizer known as the Org in Syria. The song, is based on a debke or folk song that exists in myriad forms and has many variable verses and lines that change from person to person and indeed village to village.

The setting is the general area of Deir Ezzor in Eastern Syria on the banks of the Euphrates River, which has a population comprised mainly of a Bedouins and Kurds some more urbanized than others, and this cultural context gives the music of this region its particular sound.

The video was in all likelihood produced and distributed as an MPEG on video CDs and comes to us posted by a youtube user seeking to ridicule the singer and his sensibilities, which he deems "shawi", a derogatory term somewhat analogous to the term "redneck" in English. The poster has inserted these little text comments into the video and I highly doubt they are part of the original since they are mocking. You'll find it posted here, but I have reposted it since the disabled embedding. There's also an alternative version, posted by the same guy here. It has essentially the same scenes but different shots, and also features a shot of Abdel Rizzaq singing on the bridge over the Euphrates.

For many Syrians, especially ones that own computers and post on youtube, this brand of music is seen as backward, silly, and almost embarrassing because it uses a rural dialect featuring rural themes and lacks all the refinement of more professionally produced music that seeks to emulate Western techniques and aesthetics.

However, for the open-minded listener this clip may very well be better than the commercial pop marketed by record labels precisely because it lacks that superficial, processed, bubble gum flavor. The video, if lacking production quality, is also a breath of fresh air because it shows the real, undoctored setting of the song, the bleak dusty roads of these small East Syrian towns. Of course, the video features a clip from a performance, likely at a wedding, with men and women dancing, at times together while other times men dancing with men and women dancing with women. Finally, the director has also put to use these local limited resources by parading a huge flock of sheep through the background of the final scene. Imagine how much it would cost to put a flock of sheep in a modern American music video (provided that you wanted to) and you can see how this song utilizes local characteristics and assets before judging its value.

The artist, Abdel Rizzaq al-Jabbouri has since recorded a more hi-fi version with a cleaned up, in my opinion bland, accompaniment for Gulf television. You can see it here on youtube, however, I prefer the original recording.

I haven't been able to provide the lyrics to all the available verses of this song, which may be infinite, but here we have all but one of the verses to the song in the video. Of course, the information for the translations is not all my own. I have consulted an Arabic discussion forum in which members explain and debate the meanings of obscure, extremely local words and phrases found in Arabic folk music. You can find the original postings here.

Abdel Rizzaq al-Jabbouri - Truck Driver

عبد الرزق الجبوري - المرهدن, يا شوفير الغمارة

We're going to do this song line by line because it needs a lot of explanation:

Did you find the pretty girl for me Mr. Truck Driver? (see note)
ما شفت لي المرهدن (المزيون) يا شوفير الغمارة
She's going east of al-Mouhassan taking al-Ashara road (see note)
يمشي شرق الموحسن وقاضب درب العشارى

In the song he uses the word مرهدن (muhrahdan)or other words indicating that a girl is beautiful. For those interested, مرهدن is a very particular word. According to a poster on it refers to a girl wearing a certain kind of dress native to East Syria and Iraq. I couldn't find a picture online, but it would be typical village dress of such places as Deir Ezzor. Anyway, المرهدن walks with رهدنة, which is a slow, feminine walk that is very attractive somehow refers to the movement of her dress from what I can infer. This song, which exists in many forms is often called المرهدنة

However, I am calling this song by it's other title when translating to English because it makes more sense, which is يا شوفير الغمارة (ya shofir al-qamara), a term that means truck driver or perhaps a better translation is trucker. The kind of truck in question الغمارة (sometimes pronounced القمارة) is like a pick-up truck or the front half of the tractor trailer. See the video for pictures of trucks.

In the second line there الموحسن (al-Mouhassan) and العشارى (al-Ashara) are locales found in the region of East Syria roughly between Deir Ezzor and al-Aboukmal. Much of the video seems to be filmed at the locale mentioned in the song, as you can see at the beginning the sign marking al-Mouhassan and the arches over the highway where they come to a T.

God damn money and this luck of mine
يلعن أبو المصاري لبو الحظ اللي رماني
All of them blamed me when they knew I wasn't from here (see note)
كلهم عالوا عليا من عرفوني اجنيباني

The first line is pretty straight forward. The second line contains this word اجنيباني (jnebani) which is similar to the idea of a foreigner but on a much smaller scale. If someone is اجنيباني it really means there are just from a different village or city, which on the village scale might seem like the guy is foreign, foreign enough to refuse marriage anyway.

They want a high dowry so I'll find me a loan (see note)
يريدون سياقه غالي تا شوف لي دبارة
Half from the Abraz boys and the rest from the Baqara (see note)
نص من عيال الأبرز والباقي من البقارة

Apparently سياق(siyaq, or could be siyagh) refers to the "bride-price" or المهر here. This is the amount to be paid to the bride and her family to secure an engagement. So when he says he needs to get a دبارة (dabbara) it means he needs to arrange the necessary funds to uphold his end of the marriage contract.

In the next line, I suppose he is saying where he could get the funds from. The term عيال الأبرز (ayyal al-abraz) is the nickname of the tribe al-3aqidat (العقيدات) and البقارة (al-baqqara) is the name of another tribe in the area.

There is another verse, but I can't make it out and could not find it recorded anywhere online.