Origins: The Fertile Crescent – Texts & Translations

All Texts and Translations

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Fog in Nakhal
By: Othman al Mousali
فوق النخل فوق يابه فوق النخل فوق
foug el nakhal fog ya ba foug el nakhal foug
above the palm trees (oh dad) above the palm trees
مدري المع خده يابه مدري القمر فوق
madry lame3 khada ya ba madry el gomar foug
I don’t know if his/her cheeks are glowing, (oh dad) I don’t know that the
moon is up
وهللا ما ريده وباليني بلوه آه
wallah ma reeda baleeny balwa
I swear I don’t want him/her, he/she’s adding my burdens
خدك لمع ياهواي وأضوه على البالد
khadak lema3 ya hawaya w adwa 3la el blad
your cheek’s glowing , oh my love, and it lighted up the whole country
مقدر أصبر الروح واتحمل البعاد
ma agdar asaber el rou7 w at7amal el b3ad
I can’t make the soul more patient and bear this distance
وهللا معذبني بعيونه الحلوة
wallah m3athebny be3youna el 7elwa
I swear he/she’s torturing me with his/her beautiful eyes
كل البالم تفوت يابه عيني على بلمك
kol el blam tfoot ya ba 3ainy 3la balmak
all the ships are passing ,(oh dad) your ship
ومن الهوى والروح ربي يسلمك
w men el hawa wel rou7 raby ysalmak
and from love and soul (meaning these things can torture a person so here
he’s praying that God will save his lover from these things)
وهللا معذبني وما عنده مروة
wallah m3athebny w ma 3enda mrewa
I swear he/she’s torturing me and he/she doesn’t have mercy


Samra Ya Samra
By: Karem Mahmoud
Samra, Samra, once in a while, your hobby has made me busy
Your blood is lightness, and the crown of chastity, entangle me with you, entangle me with you
Samra, Samra, sweet Samra, Samra, Samra, Samra
Samra, Samra, once in a while, Hawkeye got me busy
Your blood is lightness, and the crown of chastity, entangle me with you, entangle me with you
Samra, Samra, sweet Samra, Samra, Samra, Samra
Samra, my sweet, oh my melody, oh, oh, the sweetest resonance
The magic of the eyebrows is amazing!
Have you seen any of my fire, Samra?
Lost like this, you don’t care, Samra
And you are the cup and your lips are wine, Samra, Samra
Sweet, Samra, Samra, Samra
Samra, Samra, once in a while, your hobby has made me busy
Your blood is lightness, and the crown of chastity, entangle me with you, entangle me with you
Samra, Samra, sweet Samra, Samra, Samra, Samra
Rose your cheeks as on your lute they increased beauty
Let the blonde see the brown in any case
Know fire and jealousy, Samra
Long live the loss and confusion, Samra
And you are the cup and your lips are wine, Samra, Samra
Sweet, Samra, Samra, Samra
Samra, Samra, once in a while, your hobby has made me busy
Your blood is lightness, and the crown of chastity, entangle me with you, entangle me with you
Samra, Samra, sweet Samra, Samra, Samra, Samra
By asking for your affection, I will wrap your response in the meaning of chastity
Rejoice, becky, and say to your eyes, symbol of lightness
Your response is glory, Samra
You increased my heart with a goat, Samra
And you are the cup and your lips are wine, Samra, Samra
Sweet, Samra, Samra, Samra
دمك خفة وتاج العفة شبكني معاكي شبكني معاكي
سمرا يا سمرا حلوة يا سمرا يا سمرا يا سمرا
سمرا ياسمرا مرة فمرة شغلني هواكي
دمك خفة وتاج العفة شبكني معاكي شبكني معاكي
سمرا يا سمرا حلوة يا سمرا يا سمرا يا سمرا
سمرا يا حلوة يا لحن ياغنوة يا أحلى رنيـن
سحر الحاجب تا بيتعاجب عالحلوين
شفتو بأيت من ناري يا سمرا
تايه كدة مش داري يا سمرا
وانتي الكاس وشفايفك خمرة يا سمرا يا سمرا
حلوة يا سمرا يا سمرا يا سمرا
سمرا يا سمرا مرة فمرة شغلني هواكي
دمك خفة وتاج العفة شبكني معاكي شبكني معاكي
سمرا يا سمرا حلوة يا سمرا يا سمرا يا سمرا
ورد خدودك كا على عودك زادو جمال
خلى الشقر يشوفو السمر باتو بحال
عرفو النار والغيرة يا سمرا
عاشو فزل وحيرة يا سمرا
وانتي الكاس وشفايفك خمرة يا سمرا يا سمرا
حلوة ياسمرا يا سمرا يا سمرا
سمرا يا سمرا مرة فمرة شغلني هواكي
دمك خفة وتاج العفة شبكني معاكي شبكني معاكي
سمرا يا سمرا حلوة ياسمرا يا سمرا يا سمرا
بطلب ودك ألئف ردك معنى العفة
افرح بيكي وقول لعينيكي يارمز الخفة
ردك فيه العزة يا سمرا
زدتي بقلبي معزة يا سمرا
وانتي الكاس وشفايفك خمرة يا سمرا يا سمرا
حلوة يا سمرا يا سمرا يا سمر


Ladino Folk Songs – Traditional; transcribed by Isaac Levy; arranged by David Ludwig
Composer’s Note: I owe a debt of gratitude to the seminal scholarship of Isaac Levy, who transcribed most of
these songs in his four-volume “Chant Judéo-Espagnols;” a repository of this rich musical heritage from a
dying language scattered across Europe, Africa, and Central Asia.
I. Camini por altas torres
I have walked by high towers
I have navigated storms
Where the rooster does not sing
Where nobody knows who I am.
Rain was pouring from the sky
It was tears from my eyes
(When I see a pretty girl)
II. Cuando veo hija hermosa
La la la la la etc.
When I see a pretty girl
I go after her
With money
Without money
If she’ll have me then or not
I will make her mine.
La la la la la etc.


Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu
By: Mosh Ben-Ari
English translation / Transliteration /Hebrew
Peace will come upon us, yet.
Od yavo shalom aleinu
עוד יבוא שלום עלינו‎
Peace will come upon us, yet.
Od yavo shalom aleinu
עוד יבוא שלום עלינו‎
Peace will come upon us, yet.
Od yavo shalom aleinu
עוד יבוא שלום עלינו‎
And upon everyone.
Ve’al kulam
ועל כולם‎
Peace will come upon us, yet.
Od yavo shalom aleinu
עוד יבוא שלום עלינו‎
Peace will come upon us, yet.
Od yavo shalom aleinu
עוד יבוא שלום עלינו‎
Peace will come upon us, yet.
Od yavo shalom aleinu
עוד יבוא שלום עלינו‎
And upon everyone.
Ve’al kulam
ועל כולם‎

Peace. (Arabic)
Salaam
סלאם‎
Upon us and upon the whole world.
Aleinu ve’al kol ha olam
עלינו ועל כל העולם‎
Peace, peace. (Arabic)
Salaam, Salaam
סלאם, סלאם ‎
Peace. (Arabic)
Salaam
סלאם‎
Upon us and upon the whole world.
Aleinu ve’al kol ha olam
עלינו ועל כל העולם‎
Peace, peace. (Arabic)
Salaam, Salaam
סלאם, סלאם


Insan – Text and Music by Catrene Payan; Arrangement by Adam Waite
It doesn’t matter if you’re an Arab
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Jew
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Muslim
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian
Aren’t we all human
Living in this time
And until time is aware of this,
continue creating melodies/music.


Your Fragrance – Text by Jalal al-din Rumi; Translated by Coleman Barks; Music by Edward Henderson
Composer’s Note: Rumi’s poems are full of images, life lessons and messages that beckon the listener to fully
experience God in everything and in every moment of life. Sufi poets have many names for God: the beloved,
the great spirit, the universal soul, your love, and this piece’s title, your fragrance.
Your fragrance fills the meadow.
Your mouth appears in a red anemone,
But when those reminders leave,
my own lips open,
and in whatever I say,
I hear you.


El-Helwa Di (“This Beautiful One”) – Text by Badih Khayri; Melody by Sayyid Darwish; Arranged by Edward Torikian
Composer’s Note: This song represents Egyptian life at the beginning of the twentieth century. Early in the
morning, a beautiful woman wakes up to prepare the bread of the day. In the meantime, the sound of the
rooster is heard “ku ku ku ku”- and the entire neighborhood awakens. People begin to greet to each other
happily. Their pockets are empty of money, but their mood is calm and peaceful, convinced that hope and
patience are good virtues in life, and that God is always present in the hearts of poor people.
English:
The beautiful one went to knead dough in the morning
And the rooster cries “kou kou kou kou” in the dawn
Let’s go with the grace of God, oh workers
May your morning be beautiful, oh master Ateya
Our morning is lovely, God permits it
And our pocket doesn’t have a penny
But our mood is peaceful and serene
We put our hope in the hands of God
If we’ll be patient
All will change for the better
Oh you, who has wealth
Even the poor man has a generous God
My hand is in yours, oh Salah’s father
As long as you rely on God, you’ll live in comfort
Leave it all to the powerful one
Let’s go, time is running out
The sun has risen and the fortune belongs to God
Run to work, let God give you luck
Pick up your axe and the tools, let’s go.
Hold yourself strong, Abu Salah,
Fight hard and you will live quiet!
Rely upon the Lord
Come on, the time is passing.

Arabic:
و الديك بينده كو كو كو كو فالفج
يلال بنا على باب هللا يا صنايعية
يجعل صباحك صباح الخيريا اصطه عطيه
صباح الصباح فتاح يا عليم
و الجيب ما فيهش و ال مليم
بس المزاج رايق و سليم
باب االمل بابك يا رحيم
الصبر طيب عال
ايه غير االحوال
يا اللي معاك المال
برضه الفقير له رب كريم
ايدي بايدك يا بو صالح
مادام عـ هللا تعيش مرتاح
خللي اتكالك عالفتاح
يلال بنا مهو الوقت راح
الشمس طلعت والملك هلل
اجري لرزقك خليها على هللا
ما تشيل قّدومك والعّدة ويا


Sidi Mansour
By: Saber Rebai

oh god oh god ,my father
greetings be upon you
oh god oh god ,my father
greetings be upon you
sidi mansour oh father
i’ll come to visit you my father

god be my witness my father
i’ve never loved someone but him
the sorrow caused by my beloved
its cure is difficult my father
what my state is my father
i’m exiting for him my father
and god be my witness
i’ve never loved someone but him

i’ll come to you my master
i’ll come to you my master
with candles in my hands
with candles in my hands
and the fire in my heart
and the fire in my heart
burns my veins
burns my veins

oh god oh god ,my father
greetings be upon you
oh god oh god ,my father
greetings be upon you
sidi mansour oh father
i’ll come to visit you my father

the one with black eyes my father
with beautiful cheecks
beautiful and fascinating
his eyes are like the sea
and drowned with him
his absence tortured me
the one with black eyes
where did he took my heart

my master,ease me
my master ease me
speak and tell me
make me resist
the one who forgot me
the one who forgot me

oh god oh god ,my father
greetings be upon you
oh god oh god ,my father
greetings be upon you
sidi mansour oh father
i’ll come to visit you my father

god be my witness my father
i’ve never loved someone but him
god be my witness
i’ve never loved someone but him
sidi mansour oh father
i’ll come to visit you my father
oh god oh god ,my father
greetings be upon you
oh god oh god ,my father
greetings be upon you
sidi mansour oh father
i’ll come to visit you my father
the one with black eyes
the one with beautiful cheeks

Arabic:

allah allah ya baba
we salam 3alek ya baba
allah allah ya baba
we salam 3alek ya baba
sidi mansour ya baba
wenjek enzour ya baba 2x ash-had bellah ya baba
ma3shegt sewaah ya baba
jar7 el 7abeeb ya baba
3alaj es3eeb ya baba
wesh 7aly feeh ya baba
malhouf 3aleeh ya baba
wash-had bellah ya baba
ma3shegt sewaah ya baba wenjeek ya sidi
wenjeek ya sidi
beshmou3 fi eedy
beshmou3 fi eedy
wennar fi galby
wennar fi galby
ta7reg wareedy
ta7reg wareedy allah allah ya baba
we salam 3alek ya baba
allah allah ya baba
we salam 3alek ya baba
sidi mansour ya baba
wenjek enzour ya baba 2x we ka7eel el 3een ya baba
7elw el khadeen ya baba
7elw wi mabghour ya baba
wi 3aiounu b7oor ya baba
wi kharegt ma3aah ya baba
3asebni jfah ya baba
wi ka7eel el 3ain
khada galbi le feen sidi waseeny
sidi waseeny
a7ki wi 7akeeny
sabarli 7aal7
3alli naseeny
3alli naseeny allah allah ya baba
we salam 3alek ya baba
allah allah ya baba
we salam 3alek ya baba
sidi mansour ya baba
wenjek enzour ya baba hey hey hey ash-had bellah ya baba
ma3shegt sewaah ya baba
ash-had bellah
ma3shegt sewaah ya baba
sidi mansour ya baba
wenjek enzour ya baba allah allah ya baba
we salam 3alek ya baba
allah allah ya baba
we salam 3alek ya baba
sidi mansour ya baba
wenjek enzour ya baba hey hey hey we ka7eel el 3een ya baba
7elw el khadeen ya baba…..


We Daret Al Ayam
Days Has Passed دارت الايام
Days has passed and turned
while we’re apart and arguing
then i met him, forgot the dispute we had
forgot the night that i lied awake
and forgave him for the confusion and the agony of my heart
i don’t know how, how, how did i talk to him
i can’t stand being apart from my loved one
who else, who else do i have other than my loved one?

He met me, yearning in his eyes
greeted me with his hands in mine
and whispered to me: “i’m sorry, the blame is on me”
then i forgot what drove us apart
where are my tears that never stopped all nights?
a smile from his eyes made me forget about them
the bitterest agony, the sweetest agony, the agony brought from love to the lovers

I couldn’t stand a day without him
to be patient requires huge patience itself
i can’t stand being apart from my loved one

To me, they described patience, i found it an illusion
lovers talk, barely make sens when it’s said
to run from my heart, where to go?
our sweet nights are everywhere
we filled it with love, the two of us
we filled the world with hope, hope and tenderness

Oh dear lovers
confused, oppressed, incapable of patience
I couldn’t stand a day without him
to be patient requires huge patience itself
i can’t stand being apart from my loved one

after the long separation, the down broke
with it’s pink colors, saying it’s good mornings
and the light of the day, awakes the joys
told the love to rejoice
because of my happiness, i got lost in the delectation
because of my happiness, i can neither fall asleep nor wake up

I found myself with you, living with you
living an unmatched spring
between a never ending longing, and a longing that is beginning

I couldn’t stand a day without him
to be patient requires huge patience itself
i can’t stand being apart from my loved one

دارت الايام

ودارت الأيام، ومرت الأيام
ما بين بعاد وخصام
وقابلته نسيت إني خصمته
ونسيت الليل اللي سهرته
وسامحت عذاب قلبي وحيرته
ما اعرفش إزاي إزاي إزاي أنا كلمته
ما اقدرش على بعد حبيبي
أنا ليا مين أنا ليا مين إلا حبيبي

قابلني والأشواق في عنيه
سلم وخد ايدي في ايديه
وهمس لي قاللي الحق عليه
نسيت ساعتها بعدنا ليه
فين دموع عيني اللي ما نامت ليالي
بابتسامه من عيونوا نسّاهالي
أمرّ عذاب، واحلى عذاب، عذاب الحب للأحباب

ما اقدرتش اصبر يوم على بعده
ده الصبر عايز عايز صبر لوحده
ما اقدرش على بعد حبيبي

وصفولي الصبر لقيته خيال
وكلام في الحب يا دوب ينقال
واهرب من قلبي اروح على فين
ليالينا الحلوة في كل مكان
مليناها حب احنا الأثنين
وملينا الدنيا أمل، أمل وحنان

عيني عيني على العاشقين
حيارى مظلومين، عالصبر مش قادرين
ما اقدرتش اصبر يوم على بعده
ده الصبر عايز عايز صبر لوحده
ما اقدرش على بعد حبيبي

وهل الفجر بعد الهجر
بلونه الوردي بيصبح31
ونور الصبح صحى الفرح
وقال للحب قوم نفرح
من فرحتي تهت مع الفرحه
من فرحتي لا بنام ولا بصحى

ولقيتني معاك بعيش معاك
بعيش في ربيع ما فيش كده
بين شوق ما ينتهيش، وشوق ثاني ابتدى

ما اقدرتش اصبر يوم على بعده
ده الصبر عايز عايز صبر لوحده
ما اقدرش على بعد حبيبي


A Thousand Years – Music and lyrics by Sting and Mark Eldridge; Arranged by Adam Waite
Dr. Vicki’s Note: A singer asked me why I chose this song, and I replied that I wanted to find a fusion song, a song from a
writer working in English who borrows from Arabic rhythms and feel. This Sting song fits the bill, and also has some of the
most beautiful lyrics of any pop song. It’s almost as if it were written by Rumi himself.
A thousand years, a thousand more
A thousand times a million doors to eternity
I may have lived a thousand lives, a thousand times
An endless turning stairway climbs
To a tower of souls
If it takes another thousand years, a thousand wars
The towers rise to numberless floors in space
I could shed another million tears, a million breaths
A million names but only one truth to face
A million roads, a million fears
A million suns, ten million years of uncertainty
I could speak a million lies, a million songs
A million rights, a million wrongs in this balance of time
But if there was a single truth, a single light
A single thought, a singular touch of grace
Then following this single point, this single flame
The single haunted memory of your face
I still love you
I still want you
A thousand times the mysteries unfold themselves
Like galaxies in my head
I may be numberless, I may be innocent
I may know many things, I may be ignorant
Or I could ride with kings and conquer many lands
Or win this world at cards and let it slip my hands
I could be cannon food, destroyed a thousand times
Reborn as fortune’s child to judge another’s crimes
Or wear this pilgrim’s cloak, or be a common thief
I’ve kept this single faith, I have but one belief
I still love you
I still want you
A thousand times the mysteries unfold themselves
Like galaxies in my head
On and on the mysteries unwind themselves
Eternities still unsaid
‘Til you love me


Lamma Bada Yatahanna (“When My Live Swayed”) – Lisan al-Din Ibn al-Khatib; Arranged by Adam Waite

When my love swayed
His beauty fascinated us, oh my Love!
Something captivated us in the moment
Like a branch bending gracefully.
Oh my destiny and the source of my confusion!
Who will relieve my suffering
caused by love…and listen to my complaining?
No one but the Queen of Beauty.
Oh Mercy, Oh Mercy, Oh Mercy
Oh Mercy.
Arabic:
ما بدا يتثنى
حبي جماله فتنى
أمرٌ ما بلحظة أسرنا
غصن ثنى حين مال
وعدي ويا حيرتي
مالي رحيم شكوتي
في الحب من لوعتي
إلا مليك الجمال
لما بدا يتثنى
حبي جماله فتنى
أمرٌ ما بلحظة أسرنا
غصن ثنى حين مال


Nassam Alayna el Hawa – Music and lyrics by Assi and Mansour Rahbani; Arranged by Adam Waite

The air breezed upon us
From the split of the valley
Oh breeze, for love’s sake
Take me home
Oh love, oh love
That is flying in the breeze
There’s a mantoura (type of flower) with energy
and image
Take me to them, breeze
I’m scared, my heart
To grow up in this estrangement
Any my home wouldn’t recognize me
Take me, take me
Take me home
The air breezed upon us
From the split of the valley
Oh breeze, for love’s sake
Take me home
What’s with us? what’s with us?
Oh my love, what’s with us?
We and you used to stay with us
And now we’ve separated, what’s with us?
And the sun is still crying
At the door and doesn’t talk
And the love of home is talking
Take me, take me
Take me home
The air breezed upon us
From the spirit of the valley
Oh breeze, for love’s sake
Take me home
Arabic:
نسم علينا الهوى من مفرق الوادي
يا هوى دخل الهوي، خدني على بلادي
نسم علينا الهوى من مفرق الوادي
يا هوى دخل الهوي، خدني على بلادي
نسم علينا الهوى من مفرق الوادي
يا هوى دخل الهوى، خدني على بلادي
يا هوى، يا هوى، يللي طاير بالهوا
في منتورة طاقة وصورة، خدني لعندن يا هوا
(يا هوى )يا هوى(، يللي طاير )بالهوا
في منتورة طاقة وصورة، خدني لعندن يا هوا
فزعانة يا قلبي، أكبر بهالغربة
وما تعرفني بلادي
خدني، خدني، خدني على بلادي
(نسم علينا الهوى من مفرق الوادي )آآه
يا هوى دخل الهوي، خدني على بلادي
شو بنا، شو بنا يا حبيبي شو بنا؟
كنت وكنا تضلوا عنا وإفترقنا شو بنا
(شو بنا )شو بنا( يا حبيبي )شو بنا
كنت وكنا تضلوا عنا وإفترقنا شو بنا
وبعدها الشمس بتبكي عالباب وما تحكي
يحكي هوا بلادي
خدني، خدني، خدني على بلادي
نسم علينا الهوى من مفرق الوادي
يا هوى دخل الهوي، خدني على بلادي
آه نسم علينا الهوى من مفرق الوادي
يا هوى دخل الهوي، خدني على بلادي