Bedouin Song and Translation


One of my Lebanese teachers exposed me to this song a while back. The singer's name is Fouad Hijazi (فؤاد حجازي) and he's from Jordan. My teacher called his dialect Bedouin and he pronounces the "qaf" (ق) like a "g" in several words in the song. He's singing about his cousin Radya and asking her where she is going. It took a couple listens for this song to grown on me, but I like it a lot now =). Most people I talk to say they don't see how I could like that noise, but any song with a Mijwiz (مجوز) in it I love. The Mijwiz is that flute-like thing they play that sounds kind of like a kazoo. It's in a lot of Arabic songs. A more modern song with it is واحشني ايه by Miriam Fares.

وين رايحة يا راضية يا بنت عمي الغالية - Where are you going, Radya, oh precious daughter of my uncle.

If you didn't know, marrying your cousin is A-OK in the Arab world. So yeah, this guy is singing a love song to his cousin. =\

قلبي أنا عم يتبعك و انت علي قاسية و انت علي قاسية يا بنت عمي راضية - My heart is following you and you are harsh towards me (and you are harsh towards me) oh daughter of my uncle, Radya.

He says قلبي as "galbi". The word عم is used a lot in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. It just gives the verb that it is used before an -ing ending. Also, he says قاسية here as "gaasia".

ثوبك مقصب مخملي و العين سودا مكحلة - Your dress is shiny and purple and your eyes have black mascara on them.

The word مقصب (mugasab) is shiny (Hans Wehr says "embroidered with silver or gold") and مخملي is purple. سودا مكحلة sounds like "so dumb gahali" because he runs the words together. They say ة as a ي all the time in Levantine dialect. For example, لبنانية is pronounced "lubnanii" with no "a" sound on the end.

و بمشيتك تتمايلي زينة بنات البادية - And when you walk you sway. You're the prettiest girl in the baadya.

The word بادية just means the place where the Bedouin live. Usually out in the desert with tents.

يا بنت عمي راضية - Oh, daughter of my uncle, Radya

وين رايحة و ما في حدا ع الدرب و الليل إبتد - Where are you going when there's no one on the road and night has begun?

The word حدا means "anyone". Lots of times in Levantine dialect they'll just say ع instead of saying على. The word درب is road.

خايف عليك من العدى و انت لوحدك ماضية - I'm afraid that you'll get attacked while you're walking by yourself.

In all dialects they often use the فاعل (doer)form when they would conjugate the verb in MSA. He could say أخاف here and it would mean the same thing. Here, العدى is "an attack". It comes from the same root as عدو (enemy). لوحدك is alone or by yourself and ماضية comes from the root مضى which means to "pass by". At first I thought it meant "in the past" like you usually see in the news, but that doesn't make any sense here.

عودي لحمانا وارجعي واصغي لندايا واسمعي - Return to our safety and come back. Heed my call and listen!

Ok, the root عَادَ and رَجَعَ mean the same thing, "return" or "come back". إصغي and إسمعي both are imperative female for "listen". نَدَا means "to call out".

وين ربعنا ماشي معي نحظى بعيشة هادية - Where are our people? They're walking with me. Let's enjoy a life of peace.

In Hans Wehr it says that ربع is "a large group of people or a clan". Again, here he uses the فاعل (doer) form of the verb. ماشي.


Anonymous said...

Are you sure it is his cousin?

Because it is not unusual to call a "father in law" my uncle. So instead of "wife" one can say "daughter of my uncle"

I wonder if this is the case here...

Anonymous said...

ربع in the Bedouin dialect has the meaning of "Group of Friends "