Thursday, July 21, 2011

Samira Tawfiq - Stop Coming to Our Neighborhood
سميرة توفيق - بسك تيجي حارتنا
Bassek Tiji Haretna

Samira Tawfiq (also Tawfik, Toufic, Toufiq etc) is a Lebanese singer who became very popular in 70s and 80s (and was a minor obsession, for example, in Mohamed al-Maghout's "I Will Betray My Country سأخون وطني"). Her style is heavily influenced by the folk music and dialects of rural Lebanese society much like Najwa Karam in the following generation.

Samira Tawfiq - Stop Coming to Our Neighborhood

Stop coming to our neighborhood (my dear)
And looking all around us (oh God) (here titlaffat تتلفت describes the action of wandering around the neighborhood looking at everybody kind of turning the head when something interesting, like girls for example, pass by)
Are your eyes on our neighbor? (my dear)
Or are your eyes on us/me? (oh God)

What brought you to our neighborhood anyway (my dear)
You're hiding in the alleys (my God)
You won't find any brides here (my dear)
Waya 3awayd al-khizrani (my God) (عويد الخيزراني is apparently a beating stick, so she's saying that he won't find any girls that like you here, just a stick to beat you back)

Between Beirut and Damascus/Sayda/Hamra etc (the folk song allows for variations to mention different locations that the listeners might be familiar with or be from, this implies that the audience/speaker in the song is in a village somewhere along the road between two points)
A red car passed by (in other verses she says a white car or a green car for variation)
That was your car my dear
I knew it from the license plate

سميرة توفيق - بسك تيجي حارتنا

بسك تجي حارتنا (يا عيوني)
وتتلفت حوالينا (الله الله)
عينك على جارتنا (يا عيوني)
ولا عينك علينا (الله الله)

وايش جابك على حارتنا
وتتخبى بالقراني
وعرايس ماكو عندنا
ويا عويد الخيزراني

بين بيروت وبين الشام
مرقت سيارة حمرا
وهاي سيارتك حبيبي
وانا عرفتها من النمرة


Jbutl16 said...

Hi, so excited to see a new translation up here! I'm very intrigued by this particular dialect that she's singing in because a lot of the words and pronunciations seem to be a lot closer to Iraqi Arabic. I've noticed that same thing with a couple of old Najwa Karam videos. I guess, in short, where exactly in Lebanon is this dialect spoken?

Chris Gratien said...

I wish I could answer that question precisely, but all I can say is that it generally sounds like a "bedouin" dialect or more broadly a country dialect. The rural dialects of Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Iraq are very disparate and in the mountains, coasts, deserts you find a lot of dialects very different from the city ones, and these dialects share some features despite being geographically separated communities. If someone has more detailed information it's great.

sabei0990 said...

Thanks so much for this post. It was my request:) I am highly honored.

About the dialect, my own observation about rural dialects in Palestine and possibly the rest of the Levant is that dialect variation came with war. When the crusaders invaded and destroyed the Muslim populations of rural Palestine, Saladin replaced the desolate lands with Bedouin tribes from the Negev and Hijaz. Their dialects and blood mixed with the dialect and blood of the converted Canaanites/Phoneticians/Whatever-you-may-call-them creating the rural populations surrounding Jerusalem today, and possibly all of the Levant coastal regions formally controlled by crusaders.

Chris Gratien said...

That is an excellent point, and I will add that this process of transplanting and settling populations was continual, particular in the 19th and early 20th century. Many tribes were forced to settle into villages, while many villagers in Bilad al-Sham moved to the cities or died during the horrible famines of the 18th and 19th centuries. It had never occurred to me that this might have contributed to the dialectal variations that we see in the Levant, but it makes a lot of sense.

There are also other possible explanations, particularly when one notes the similarities in some of the dialects of Mt. Lebanon, the Druze regions of Syria, and the mountains of the Syrian coast. These mountain dialects have something in common.

Unfortunately, most of the widespread knowledge about spoken Arabic focuses on the urban centers and the problematic yet pervasive notion of national dialects.

Jbutl16 said...

Thanks for the information you guys, don't know why I never though of that.

sabei0990 said...

I am very happy to share this information. I always kept it as a thought. I am from Beit Hanina in Jerusalem and we speak like Bedouin and falahi mixture. The ك is pronounced as a تش or che found in the Gulf. I wish more studies would be put forth discovering how these dialects evolved.