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My All Time Favourite International Songs (6): “Bitlomoni Leih” by Abdel Halim Hafiz (Arabic)

The song Bitlomoni Leih (Why do you blame me?) by Abdel Halim Hafiz is a breathtakingly romantic song. He is considered to be one of the Great Four of Arabic music (along with Umm Kuthum, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, and Farid Al Attrach). is known as el-Andaleeb el-Asmar (The Great Dark-Skinned Nightingale, Arabic: العندليب الأسمر‎). His music is still played daily throughout the Arab World.  His way of singing, the popularity of his songs and his behavior made him a role model for almost every modern Arab singer.Halim is still remembered in the hearts of many people, even years after his death. The two composers Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Mohamed Al-Mougy both said, “Halim is the smartest person I ever knew”. Mohammed Al-Mougy also added, “Halim is very original in all of his work”. Abdel Halim died of liver failure on March 30, 1977 (few months before his 48th birthday) while undergoing treatment for Bilharzia in King’s College Hospital, London. His death brought sadness and shock waves to the entire Arab world as a result, His funeral (in Cairo) was attended by millions of people – more than any funeral in Middle East history other than that of President Gamal Abdel Nasser. He had many more dreams and goals that he wanted to achieve and surpass and could have, but his early death stopped him.

Also some people committed suicide once they heard Halim has died. It is reported that at least four women has committed suicide by jumping off the balcony during his huge funeral march. He was buried in Al Rifa’i Mosque (مسجد الرفاعي) in Cairo. Abdel Halim Hafez’s song Khosara (خسارة) received notice in the Western world in 1999 when producer Timberland used elements from it for Jay Z’s recording ” Big Pimpin.” Two complete bars from “Khosara” were rerecorded, not sampled, and used without permission from the song’s producer and copyright holder, Magdi el-Amroussi. Jay-Z’s use of an interpolation, rather than an actual sample, may allow him to avoid paying royalties for the use of the song. Over 300 of his songs were recorded and he starred in sixteen classic films, including “Dalilah” (دليله), which was the Middle East’s first color motion picture.

Translation of this song:

Part 1
بتلوموني ليه .. بتلوموني ليه
Bitlimoni leih? Bitlimoni leih?
How can you blame me? How can you blame me?
لو شفتم عينيه .. حلوين قد إيه
Law shoftom eineih… hilween add eih.
If you saw her eyes, and how beautiful they are,
ح تقولوا إنشغالي وسهد الليالي
Hat qolo inshighali wa sohd el layali.
You would say my captivation and my restlessness,
مش كتير عليه… ليه بتلوموني
Mosh kiteer aleih… leih bitlimoni?
Are not too much for her… how can you blame me?
Part 2
أسير الحبايب يا قلبي يا دايب
Aseer el habayeb, ya albi ya dayib.
I am the captive of my beloved, oh my weak heart.
في موجة عبير من الشعر الحرير
Fi mogeit aabeer min shaar el hareer.
I am trapped within the aroma of her soft hair.
ع الخدود يهفهف ويرجع يطير
Aal khidood yehafhaf… we yerga yiteer.
Which brushes against her cheeks, and then flows in the wind.
والناس بيلوموني وأعمل إيه يا قلبي
Wel nas bey limoni we aamil eih ya albi?
And everyone blames me and what can I do, oh my heart?
عايزين يحرموني منه ليه يا قلبي
Ayzeen yehremoni mino leih ya albi?
They want to deprive me of her, but why oh my heart?
Part 3
من يوم حبه ما لمس قلبي
Min yom hobo ma lamas albi,
From the day her love touched my heart,
فتح الباب للشوق يلعب بي
Fatah el bab lel shoq yelaab be.
She opened the gates of passion to overcome me.
وهو حبيبي وهو نصيبي
We howa habibi. we howa nasibi,
And she is my darling, and she is my fate.
وهو النور لعينيه وقلبي
We howa el nour le einaya we albi.
And she is the light for my eyes and my heart.
وهو شبابي وهو صحابي
We howa shababi, we howa sahabi.
And she is my youth, and she is my friend.
وهو قرايبي وكل حبايبي
We howa qaribi wa kol habaybi.
And she is my family and everything that I love.
والناس بيلوموني وأعمل إيه يا قلبي
Wel nas bey limoni we aamil eih ya albi?
And everyone blames me and what can I do, oh my heart?
عايزين يحرموني منه ليه يا قلبي
Ayzeen yehremoni mino leih ya albi?
They want to deprive me of her, but why oh my heart?

My All Time Favourite International Songs (5): “Nour El Ain” by Amr Diab (Arabic)

The famous song “Nour El Ain’ (light of the eye) by the famous Egyptian singer Amr Diab is very nice. Amr Diab has sold over 50 million albums worldwide. He is currently the top singer in the Arab world, and considered a living legend by many of his fans in the Arab world.

Amr Diab is known as the Father of Mediterranean Music. He has created his own style which is often termed “Mediterranean Music” or “Mediterranean Sound”, a blend of Western and Egyptian rhythms.

Nour El Ain was released in 1996, becoming a tremendous success not only in the Middle East but throughout the entire world. The song was composed by Nasser el-Mizdawi, lyrics were written by Ahmed Sheta and it was arranged by Hameed Elshaery. The title track, and its English version “Habibi”, was an international phenomenon, becoming a massive crossover hit in countries such as Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka (performed by Sangeeth Wickremasinghe) and Malaysia (Malay version sung by Datuk Sharifah Aini). The song was copied and remade with Malayalam lyrics, a south Indian language, in the Malayalam movie Chandralekha. In a style reminiscent of the Aldo (musician) Franco-Arabic style, the song was remixed by several top European arrangers and has become a big pull on the dance floors of Europe. The video clip, also produced by Alam El Phan for the song “Nour El Ain”, was one of the most lavish and expensive productions in the field of Egyptian song, and set a new standard for his contemporaries to aspire to. This album sold 3 million copies. In 1997, Amr Diab won three Awards at the Annual Arabic Festival (for Best Video, Best Song and Artist of the Year). In the following year, he received a Triple Platinum Award for the sales of Nour El Ain, and received a World Music Award in Monaco on 6 May 1998, under the patronage of H.S.H. Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and attended by Gloria Estefan, Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, The Backstreet Boys, Steven Seagal and others. This award was the first of its kind for an Egyptian artist, emphasizing that his appeal is not just confined to the Middle East unlike the majority of his contemporaries.