Sunday, August 2, 2009

Salima Murad - You Branch of Basil
سليمة مراد - يا نبعة الريحان
Ya Nebaet al Rihan

This is a hard song to decipher for me for a lot of reasons, but I've done my best here to convey the meaning. The phrase "branch of basil (نبعة الريحان)" refers to the beloved of the poet, and this is intended to mean that she is pretty and sweet-swelling, basil being a sign of perfume in Iraq. In addition, basil is known to be a cure-all of sorts, and I think in calling the lover a branch of basil, the poet is demanding a cure for his love, describing himself as "walhaan (ولهان)" a word meaning in love with the connotation of being mad or sick in love. Of course, the cure for this sickness is to be with his love, the branch of basil.

Interestingly, the song, written by Abdel Karim al Alaf (عبد الكريم العلاف), is being sung from the persona of a man, even though the original performer, Selima Murad, is a woman.

Selima Murad or "Selima Pasha" herself is a unique figure in Arabic music history, as she was one of the early great figures of Iraqi music and also Jewish. However, unlike most of Iraq's formerly large Jewish population, she did not leave Iraq in 1948 after the founding of Israel and remained in Iraq until her death in 1975. The composer of this song, Shalekh (Saleh) al Kuwaiti (صالح الكويتي) was also an Iraqi Jew. Selima Murad was married to the great Iraqi singer, Nazem al-Ghazali.

Selima Murad - You Branch of Basile

You branch of basile, take pity on the one who's infatuated with you
My body has become emaciated, my soul has melted, and my bones are showing

I no longer know what to do about this sickness inside of me
My condition is difficult and there's not a person who knows the cure

The day I loved I went crazy
I've been confused, I don't know what my crime was

I haven't committed any crimes except loving the loved
It's not a crime for me to repent from and ask for forgiveness

سليمة مراد - يا نبعة الريحان

يا نبعة الريحان حني على الولهان
جسمي نحل والروح ذابت وعظمي بان

من علتي اللي باحشاي ما ظل عندي راي
دائي صعب ودواي ما يعرفها انسان

يوم الذي حبيت يا منيتي جنيت
حاير انا تميت ما ادري ذنبي أيش كان

ما عندي كل ذنوب إلا هوى المحبوب
لاهو ذنب لاتوب واتجبر الرحمن

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