Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Abdel Halim Hafez - Wanderer
عبد الحليم حافظ - سواح

I've seen "sawwah" translated as "vagabond," but I'm gonna use wanderer because vagabond has negative connotations that I don't think are intended. The word is inteded to convey the idea of someone who wanders or roams around, which a vagabond does, but vagabonds have a reputation for being beggars or thieves or having other negative attributes. This is one of Abdel Halim's classics. Shame on all of you who found this song for by searching for Ishtar's cover of this song called "Habibi Sawwah"

Abdel Halim Hafez - Wanderer

A wanderer
Walking in the countryside
And the distance (literally step) between my and my beloved is vast
In a faraway land where I am a stranger
The night approaches as the day leaves

And if you find my love say hi to her for me
Reassure me about how she is doing so far away from me (here Abdel Halim's beloved is is "esmer," a word used to express the dark skin tone of people who are between white and black. The image of the attractive dark-skinned man/girl is a common trope in Arab poetry and song. perhaps something along the lines of "mr. tall, dark and handsome" in English)

A wanderer walking in the nights
Not knowing what I'm doing
What has this separation from my love done to me?

For years I've been melting with desire and longing
I just wanna know where is the way to her

My eyes, ah, my eyes (i.e. his beloved)
Where are you, what's happened to you and what are you doing?
My worries, ah my worries
Get away from me, I don't need this
I'm confused about her as it is
And I can't rest
I'm lost, a wanderer

Oh moon, oh you who forgets me
Take me to the one who is absent
Give me light and show me the trail of my darling
I've enjoined you with my last will and you are my witness
Tell her what's going on with me and what I've suffered in the nights

عبد الحليم حافظ - سواح

سواح وماشي في البلاد سواح
والخطوة بيني وبين حبيبي براح
مشوار بعيد وأنا فيه غريب
والليل يقرب والنهار رواح

وان لقاكم حبيبي سلموا لي عليه
طمنوني الأسمراني عامله إيه الغربة فيه

سواح وأنا ماشي ليالي سواح
ولا داري بحالي سواح
من الفرقة يا غالي سواح
إيه اللي جرى لي سواح

وسنين وأنا دايب شوق وحنين
عايز أعرف بس طريقه منين

يا عيوني..آه يا عيوني
إيه جرى لك فين إنت وبتعمل إيه
يا ظنوني..آه يا ظنوني
ما تسيبوني مش ناقص أنا حيرة عليه
لا أنا عارف أرتاح
وأنا تايه سواح

يا قمر يا ناسيني رسيني عاللي غايب
نور لي .. وريني سكة الحبايب
وصيتك وصية يا شاهد عليا
تحكي له عاللي بيه واللي قاسيته في لياليا


Z. said...

I love that you are translating Arabic songs into English. And, I must say, you are doing an excellent job of translating, even if I would translate a few things differently, I would say you've come close to mastering the Arabic language (far more than I can say for myself, even if Arabic is my first language). I also find it fascinating when one diverges from a traditional translation, perhaps understanding of a word, such as you do here with "sawwah." Thank you for this blog! :)

Chris Gratien said...

Hey Aaron, it does seem like that and I can't say for certain 100% that I've interpreted it correctly, but in fact I think the ما is for emphasis. If it was a negative command in Egyptian dialect it would usually has a ش ending. Sometimes with commands its like that, for example ما تاکل when being offered food means like "eat already!" not "don't eat." Plus, in this context, you can see the command is plural, so he's not telling his lover to leave him but I think the others to leave him alone

Emericans said...

Can you translate his song 'ahwak'? I've seen different translations but would like to know your interpretation.