Follow Abufares

Monday, October 12, 2009

Amal Hayati

I was out with the guys last night. We laughed and bellowed. We bickered and fought. We ate and drank then we listened to Om Kalthoum.
Amal Hayati (Hope of My Life) 1965, lyrics by Ahmad Shafik Kamel (1919-2008), music by Mohamad Abdul Wahab (1900-1991).
I can only translate, to the best of my ability, most of this magnificent love poem and hope that somehow you get to enjoy the voice, the music and the timeless words.
For you are, Amal Hayati.

Hope of my life,
My endless love
The most beautiful song
My heart has heard
Take my life, all of it
Just let me be
With you only today
In the lap of your heart
Let me dream
Never to wake up again 

My Hope, my life, my eyes
You're more precious than myself
My Habibi of yesterday
And now my Habibi
And then till the end of time, Habibi
Tell me…
What harbor am I missing,
When I'm in your arms
I've never known so much protection
Such as yours
I've never loved my life Habibi
Except for you
I faced my hopes, I faced the world
I faced love
The first time I met you and gave you my heart
You're the life in my heart
More happiness than this I can't take
More than what I have I don't need
After being with you
I wouldn't mind to die

It's enough for me
To wake up hearing your lips whisper
A song
Oh my never-ending love
In the lap of your heart
Let me dream
Never to wake up again
My love for you
has filled the whole world with adoration
When we're together it's just hard
To blink en eye
Even for a second
I can't not see you
I can't not be blessed by you
That's how much I miss you
That's how I long for you
I wish I could find a word
No one had used before
A word as vast as my love
A word as huge as my cravings and my passion
A word like you
If there's such a word
For there's no way on earth
To create anything else like you
In the lap of your heart
Let me dream
Never to wake up again

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Abu Fares,you did a very good job! But there is a translation for this lovely song;I'll try to find out it then I'll forward it to you.
Best

Ab

BIL said...

Abu Fares,

A great job, I could almost think that this was something special for me to read. Somehow we often lose sight of what we have that is so special sitting right under our nose, we sometimes forget how that person has changed our own outlook on life (for the better I might add). I had just sent the better half these words since it does seem so relative to today. Again you hit the mark right on! BIL

Isobel said...

A very wise man once told me "Beauty is a summation of the parts working together in such a way that nothing is needed to be added, taken away or altered." I think that could easily apply to these most beautiful lyrics - in fact, I have never heard any lyrics more beautiful. Thank you.

Shadi said...

عظمة على عظمة
Thank you Abu Fares!

Shadi said...

Bone on bone!!!!

Shadi said...

Abu Fares!!
I believe you have some automated translation here.
I like technology, but I didnt say "Bone on Bone"! :)

For non Arabs, I used a phrase that was commonly used in Om Kalthoum Concerts, meaning "Greatness on Greatness Lady" .
The solo parts in the music are great, and lyrics are amazing!
I adore this part

"I wish I could find a word
No one had used before
A word as vast as my love
A word as huge as my cravings and my passion
A word like you
If there's such a word
For there's no way on earth
To create anything else like you"

Many thanks Abu Fares, and forgiveness, I would NEVER use Arabic in comments again ;)

Gabriela said...

Until today, I have never heard the names you cite here.
After reading the beautiful lyrics I can only think: how special and unique must have been the person to whom this song is dedicated. It always moves me, to see someone loving that much and someone who is that much loved... hopefully, a completely deserved love.
Saludos desde Lima.

wgaw said...

thank you and thank you for the poem

Omar said...

Only Abufares can translate an Um Kulthoum song so well. An Arabic cafe opened up here last month. Appropriately, they play Um Kulthoum every night. As you look around the cafe you see faces mesmerized by her words, her voice, and of course the timeless melodies of her songs.

Anonymous said...

you have saved me again, me and my lovely wife (Amal) have been through some tense time lately. we listen to the song, it was fresh and original like the very first time. the translation is awesome.Thanks again.

abufares said...

@AB
Well I would really like to read an English version of this outstanding poem. I must confess that I took the easy way out in my own version and just performed a literal translation with minor cosmetics.

abufares said...

@BIL
This is a universal love song if there ever is such a thing.
I'm glad you appreciated the words and I'm sure your "better" half will do too.

abufares said...

@Isobel
The same wise man has changed a lot over the years, over the months and weeks that stretch like a reel. The flickering light behind the single frames of my life, behind the days, the hours and minutes, behind every second I continue to breathe is what's making my whole world comes alive with color, motion and music... delightfully beautiful.

abufares said...

@Shadi
I don't have any auto-translation on my blog, if there is such a thing. Your PC must've taken a life of its own:-)
This song is on the very top of my all-time favorites. I know of a very few songs as beautiful as Amal Hayati. I hope you two ;-) get a chance to lie back on a comfortable couch, close your eyes and celebrate your love by singing together the part you so much enjoy.

Shadi said...

Thank you Abu Fares..
Seems that my PC has a life of its own, here is how I see my post
http://twitpic.com/lcv0x
Might be some hidden google translation option here or there!
Thank you again for the wonderful universe you sent us to in this blog.
Salamat

abufares said...

@Gabriela

Your comment was the reason I delayed my replies to all of the others until the next day. I needed to think hard and carefully ;-) how to respond.
First, I suggest that you should be familiar with Om Kalthoum at least from an intellectual point of view. Thirty four years after she passed away she remains the most influential Arab personality (religion aside). In the 60's, Om Kalthoum performed live on the first Thursday of every month. Traffic in the streets of Cairo, Damascus and every single capital in the Middle East and North Africa came to a complete stop. Men and women hurried and gathered around their radios and listened in adoration close to worship to her enchanting and powerful voice.
That was the easy part of my answer, lollll.

We were 10 men in that restaurant buried in a deep valley east of Tartous two days ago. We had the place all to ourselves and acted like men act in the company of other men: total jerks out having a good time away from the burden/bliss of the presence of women:-)
When the prelude neared its end and Om Kalthoum started with her song we all became very quiet.
Then she reached and sang:

My Hope, my life, my eyes
You're more precious than myself
My Habibi of yesterday
And now my Habibi
And then till the end of time, Habibi
(Habibi btw means My Darling) I became self-conscious for a brief instance. I felt as if the eyes of the whole world were staring at me. I looked around and I found the guys, all 9 of them, each lost in his own most inner thoughts.
When the song was over we came out as if from a trance and I said:

"how special and unique must have been the person to whom this song is dedicated. It always moves me, to see someone loving that much and someone who is that much loved." Your words exactly Gabriela. Of course I said them in Arabic.

The guy sitting across, my best friend, chanced a picaro question in my direction: "and have you ever known such love Abufares?"

"I will post about it tomorrow", I replied. Do you think I answered his question?

abufares said...

@wgaw
You're welcome and I'm glad you liked it.

abufares said...

@Omar
I think the simplicity and elegance of the original words of Ahamd Shafik Kamel were lost in my translation. The simpler an idea is the more difficult it is to convey in another language. Take the word "Hayati" for instance: "My Life" in English is not equally the same. Hayati is much more than that. "Mi Vida" in Spanish is close, very close.
I'm interested in learning from you if non-Arab speakers listen and appreciate Om Kalthoum in that cafe.
Thank you Omar for dropping by.

abufares said...

@Anonymous

"Amal", is one of the most beautiful names in Arabic. It means "Hope" btw for those who don't already know.

I'm glad this song has played a role in bringing you with your beloved Amal closer.

Amal, Hope... is the driving force in the struggle with my own real life.

Thanks Anonymous;-)

Karin said...

I listened to the original .. it IS beautiful and even without understanding the words, I can sense, feel ...



AMAL, HOPE - what would we do without it? Wither away into oblivion ..

abufares said...

@Gabriela
And just in case you thought that my answer was vague....

YESSS!!!

BIL said...

Abu Fares,

You asked if us "Non-Arabic" speakers listened to and enjoyed the the music of Om Kalthoum, and I must say the answer is YES! I went out and found several tracks of her music on the WEB, including the one you featured. Even when I did not know what the meaning of the words were, it was simply beautiful.

Gabriela said...

You are an extraordinary person, AbuFares.

An input: Amal = Hope = Esperanza (in Spanish, also a female name).

Anonymous said...

Abufares, i never liked um kalthum or abedalwahab, as SABAH FAKHRE said, the compositions of abdelwahad are western, are more spanish than arabic, they do not respect the (makhamat),
long liva SABAH FAKHRI

Fantasia Lillith said...

Well now I must go and discover .... thank you for this!

Diana said...

I sing this song often. :)

abufares said...

@Karin
Well now that you understand the words it should be even better.
I suggest you sit on a patio in the evening with a glass of your favorite something. 2 or 3 somethings later, listen to Amal Hayati again with the translation nearby.
No Amal, No Hayat my dear friend.

abufares said...

@BIL
Well Karin and you just answered the question for me really.
Listening to OM Kalthoum is a refined and acquired taste. When I'm in the mood for some opera I absorb it beyond the meaning of words, which admittedly I don't understand at all.
Om Kalthoum embodies an era in the Arab world consciousness. A period of intense nationalism. I'm not painting rosy pictures of a controversial reality but after Om Kalthoum, it's my opinion that everything went downhill, at least from social and intellectual perspectives.

abufares said...

@Gabriela
Or inspired by an extraordinary person :-)

abufares said...

@LÊ
Personally I never liked Abdul Wahab. He was too sneaky and Machiavellian for my taste. I don't like his voice either. His music, although influenced by a western taste however, was a welcome change in my opinion in the evolution of Arabic music. There's a big difference between the mastermind that is Abdul Wahab and The Rahbanis for instance who were petty thieves no more.
Farid Al Atrash is my all-time Number One. The way he fused "Ya Zahrantan Fi Khayali" into a timeless masterpiece said it all.
I like Sabah Fakhri too but prefer to attend him live rather than listen to him on a lonely night like I do with Om Kalthoum.

abufares said...

@Diana
You: (Choose the correct answer)

A. Are madly in love
B. Have a beautiful voice
C. Both of the above

abufares said...

@Fantasia
You must indeed. I hope you let me know what you think about it.
Thank you for enjoying discovery and for sharing it with us :-)

Katia said...

It's been tough lately but it's always soothing to come back to a comfortable place, even if it's a virtual one, and find some hope... and love.

Thanks again, Abufares.

Diana said...

Haha!

I choose D. (For Diana!)
D. Maybe not a "beautiful" one, but I do have a very nice voice and can sing well. And occasionally I am moderately "in like," but not much more than that.

:)

abufares said...

@Katia
Welcome back. I was wondering about you and I hope you got out of it. if you haven't completely, please do. Drop everything (from your mind) and go out and enjoy yourself :-)

Get WELL...

abufares said...

@Diana
Then C was the best answer, a nice voice and you are "in like"...
Oh what the hell, D it is.

You just got an A!

Diana said...

Aaaaahahaha! :D

Anonymous said...

As always,I very much appreciate your great job.
But,really,there is English translation of this lyrics ;I put it in my favorites;I'll try my best to find it ; till I find please check out this site:
http://almashriq.hiof.no/egypt/700/780/umKoulthoum/Songs/LYR/amal.html

Once again thank you so much,gentleman.

AB

Anonymous said...

http://www.spotify.com/en/

AB

BIL said...

I tried the link and from the country I am currently in, they have the site blocked. But Thanks for the info. BIL

david santos said...

Really great work, Abufares!
Thank you my friend.
Have a nice weekend.

abufares said...

@David Santos
Glad to see you here my friend. You're always welcome.

Anonymous said...

http://uk.cars.yahoo.com/drive-smart/articles/article/27/

Anonymous said...

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/21/20091018/tsc-children-spared-naked-scanner-4b158bc.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.myspace.com/mumfordandsons

Mumford And Sons — Little Lion Man lyrics

Weep for yourself, my man,
You'll never be what is in your heart
Weep little lion man,
You're not as brave as you were at the start
Rate yourself and rape yourself,
Take all the courage you have left
Wasted on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head

But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn't I, my dear?

Tremble for yourself, my man,
You know that you have seen this all before
Tremble little lion man,
You'll never settle any of your score
Your grace is wasted in your face,
Your boldness stands alone among the wreck
Learn from your mother or else spend your days biting your own neck

But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn't I, my dear?

Thank you for listening!

Anonymous said...

Hello, thank you very much for the translation. But I am wondering if the text is written in Fus7a or dialecT?

abufares said...

@anoymous

In Egyptian dialect.
Thank you for your visit.

Su said...

Hi there!

Thank you for the translation! But I'm wondering, is this the whole translation of Amal Hayati?

abufares said...

Hi Su
I think so :-)