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Alf Leyla wa Leyla
(1001 Nights)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the classic Egyptian song "Alf Leyla wa Leyla", which was sung by Oum Kalthoum. Also included is a transliteration of the Arabic lyrics into the Roman alphabet so you can sing along if you like.

It is typical for multiple recordings of Oum Kalthoum songs to exist, each different from the others. This is because recordings were made and sold of her various radio concerts. The one used for this translation is about 16 minutes in length. Others are as much as an hour in length.

Oum Kalthoum was born in 1904 and died in 1975. She was unquestionably the most gifted singer and musician of the 20th century in the Middle East. She was continuously popular for over 50 years and her songs are still played nightly on any number of Arabic-language radio stations. Oum Kalthoum is one of four vocalists who have achieved legendary status in Egyptian music. The other three are Farid al-Atrache, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, and Abdel Halim Hafez.

Her name is transliterated many different ways in the Roman alphabet, including Um Kulthum, Om Kalsoum, Umm Kulthoum, Om Kalthoum, Umm Kalsum, Oum Kalthum, Oum Kolthoum, Oum Kaltsoum, and others.

Lyrics: Morsi Gamil Aziz
Music: Baligh Hamdi

 

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Listen to MP3 Clips of this Song

Note Instrumental segment from an Oum Kalthoum concert
Note Performed by Mary Ellen Donald & Mimi Spencer
Note From the album Dance with Adam Basma

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Lyrics

Arabic Lyrics

English Translation

Ya Habeebi, Ya Habeebi, Yaaa Habeebi. My sweetheart, my sweetheart, my sweetheart.
Illeil wi samah, wi ingomo iw amaro, amaro wi saharo. The night and its sky, its stars, its moon, moon and keeping awake all night.
Winta wana, ya habeebi ana, ya hayati ana. You and me my sweetheart, my life.
Ya Habeebi, Ya Habeebi, Yaaa Habeebi. My sweetheart, my sweetheart, my sweetheart.
Illeil wi samah, wi ingomo iw amaro, amaro wi saharo. The night and its sky, its stars, its moon, moon and keeping awake all night.
Winta wana, ya habeebi ana, ya hayati ana. You and me my sweetheart, my life.
   
Kollina, Kollina fi ilhobi sawa. All of us together are the same in love.
Wilhawa, ah minno ilhawa. Ilhawa, ah minno Ilhawa, ah minno Ilhawa, aaah minno Ilhawa. And love, aah from the love, aah from love, aah from love, aah from love.
Sahran Ilhawa yis-eena Ilhana weyool Bilhana. Wilhawa. The love is awake all night long giving us a drink of happiness and telling us in good happiness.
Ah Minno Ilhawa. Wilhawa. Ah Minno Ilhawa. Ah Minno Ilhawa, Aaah Minno Ilhawa. And the love. Love, Oh from love, Oh from love, Oh from love.
Sahran Ilhawa yis-eena Ilhana weyool Bilhana. The love is awake all night long giving us a drink of happiness and telling us in good happiness.
Ya Habeebi. My sweetheart.
   
Yallah In3eesh Bi 3youn illeil. Yallah In3eesh Bi 3youn illeil. Let us live in the eyes of the night, let us live in the eyes of the night.
Winool lilshams ta3ali, ta3ali ba3di sana. Mosh abli sana ta3ali, ta3ali, ta3ali, ta3ali ba3di sana. Mosh abli sana. And will tell the sun light come on over, come on over after one year, not before.
Fi leilate hobi hilwa bi alf Leila iw laila, alfi Leila iw Leila, alfi Leila iw Leila, alfi Leila iw Leila, alfi Leila iw Leila. alfi Leila wi Leila. In a night of love as sweet as one thousand and one night, one thousand and one night, one thousand and one night, one thousand and one night, one thousand and one night, one thousand and one night.
Bikolli il3omr gowa il3omri Eih, ghair lailah zayyi illeilah. zayyi illeilah. Illeila, illeila. They say life, what is inside life, but a night like tonight, like tonight, tonight, tonight.
   
Ezzay, Ezzay, Ezzay awsiflak ya habeebi ezzay, abli ma hibak konti izzay ya habeebi. How, how, how I can describe to you my sweetheart, how before I loved you, you were.
Ezzay, Ezzay, Ezzay awsiflak ya habeebi ezzay, abli ma hibak konti izzay ya habeebi. How, how, how I can describe to you my sweetheart, how before I loved you, you were.
Ezzay, Ezzay, Ezzay awsiflak ya habeebi ezzay, abli ma hibak konti izzay ya habeebi. How, how, how I can describe to you my sweetheart, how before I loved you, you were.
Ezzay, Ezzay, Ezzay awsiflak ya habeebi ezzay, abli ma hibak konti izzay ya habeebi. How, how, how I can describe to you my sweetheart, how before I loved you, you were.
Ezzay, Ezzay, Ezzay awsiflak ya habeebi ezzay, abli ma hibak konti izzay ya habeebi. How, how, how I can describe to you my sweetheart, how before I loved you, you were.
Ezzay, Ezzay, Ezzay awsiflak ya habeebi ezzay, abli ma hibak konti izzay ya habeebi. How, how, how I can describe to you my sweetheart, how before I loved you, you were.
   
Konti wala imbaraih fakraah, wala 3andi bokra astanaah, wala haddi yoami 3ayshah ya habeebi. Yesterday I did not remember and I did not have to tomorrow to wait for and no one is living my day Oh my sweetheart.
Konti wala imbaraih fakraah, wala 3andi bokra astanaah, wala haddi yoami 3ayshah ya habeebi. Yesterday I did not remember and I did not have to tomorrow to wait for and no one is living my day Oh my sweetheart.
   
Ezzay, Ezzay, Ezzay awsiflak ya habeebi ezzay, abli ma hibak konti izzay ya habeebi. How, how, how I can describe to you my sweetheart, how before I loved you, you were.
Ezzay, Ezzay, Ezzay awsiflak ya habeebi ezzay, abli ma hibak konti izzay ya habeebi. How, how, how I can describe to you my sweetheart, how before I loved you, you were.
   
Konti wala imbaraih fakraah, wala 3andi bokra astanaah, wala haddi yoami 3ayshah ya habeebi. Yesterday I did not remember and I did not have to tomorrow to wait for and no one is living my day Oh my sweetheart.
Konti wala imbaraih fakraah, wala 3andi bokra astanaah, wala haddi yoami 3ayshah ya habeebi. Yesterday I did not remember and I did not have to tomorrow to wait for and no one is living my day Oh my sweetheart.
   
Khadtini bilhob fi ghamdhait 3ain, waraitni halawait ilayaam fain, halawait ilayaam fain, halawait ilayaam fain. You took me in love in an eye blink and you showed me where the sweetest days are, the sweetest days where, the sweetest days where.
Khadtini bilhob fi ghamdhait 3ain, waraitni halawait ilayaam fain, halawait ilayaam fain, halawait ilayaam fain. You took me in love in an eye blink and you showed me where the sweetest days are, the sweetest days where, the sweetest days where.
   
Illeil ba3di ma can ghorba, ghorba, malaito amaan, wil3omri illi can sahra, sahra sabah bostan. The night after it was loneliness, loneliness, you filled it up with security. And the life that was desert, desert, it became a garden.
Illeil ba3di ma can ghorba, ghorba, malaito amaan, wil3omri illi can sahra, sahra sabah bostan. The night after it was loneliness, loneliness, you filled it up with security. And the life that was desert, desert, it became a garden.
   
Ya habeebi yalla in3eish fi 3yoon illeil, yalla in3eish bi 3yoon illeil. Winool lilshams ta3ali, ta3ali ba3di sana, mosh abli sana, ta3ali, ta3ali, ta3ali, ta3ali, ba3di sana, mosh abli sana. My sweetheart let us live in the eyes of the night, let us live in the eyes of the night and tell the sun come over, come after one year not before, come over, come over, come over, come over, after one year not before one year.
Fi leilate hob hilwa, bi alfi leila iw Leila, alfi leila iw Leila, alfi leila iw Leila, alfi leila iw Leila, alfi leila iw Leila, alfi leila wi Leila. In a sweet night of love, in one thousand and one nights, one thousand and one night, one thousand and one nights, in one thousand and one nights, one thousand and one night, one thousand and one nights.
Bikolli il3omr, howa il3omri eih ghair Leila zayyi illeila, zayyi illeila, illeila, zayyi illeila. They say it is the life. What is life, but a night like tonight, like tonight, tonight, like tonight.

 

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Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Jalilah's Raks Sharki 3: Journey of the Gipsy Dancer CD Cover

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: Hossam Shaker and his Ensemble
CD Title: Jalilah's Raks Sharki 3: Journey of the Gipsy Dancer

Amazon Store: U.S. Canada U.K.

 

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Translations of
Oum Kalthoum's Songs on This Site

 

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About the Translator

More than 100 song translations that appear on this web site, including this one, were created by Dr. Tahseen Alkoudsi. Together with his wife Kathe, Tahseen owned an import business in Lawrence, Kansas known as Cartouche.

Dr. Alkoudsi's imports business was his second career. His first career was in the service of the United Nations. Born in Damascus, Syria, he came to the U.S. for his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics, and worked in San Francisco. He joined the United Nations in Yemen, and worked in Saudi Arabia. He then joined the UNESCO Regonal Office for Arab States. He visited most of the Arab States in the course of his work, responsible for introducing computer sciences into educational facilities. For a time, he was stationed in Cairo, Egypt. He retired from that work in 1995.

Sadly, Tahseen died on Sunday, October 15, 2006. See this link for his obituary.

To me, Tahseen was so much more than a contributor to my web site. Even though we lived far apart, I saw Tahseen and Kathe several times over the years. I always appreciated their warmth and generosity. I first "met" Tahseen online back in 1997 on the med-dance list on the Internet, where he periodically posted messages. I knew he was in Lawrence, Kansas, so when a business trip arose requiring me to travel to the Kansas City area, I emailed him to say I'd be in the neighborhood. He and Kathe came to Kansas City for an evening get-together at Tasso's restaurant, and they invited several local dancers to join us. I saw them on follow-up visits to Kansas City. They vended at Rakkasah for several years, and it was always a pleasure to greet them there in the anteroom off to the left of the main stage. I also enjoyed encountering them in Egypt at the Ahlan wa Sahlan festival.

Tahseen will be missed by many.

Tahseen Alkoudsi

 

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