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From the Site

Arab Song Translations

By Lennie Clark

Lennie

From Lennie Clark's Web Site:

Ghanili Shwaaye Shwaaye
(Sing for Me Softly)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the classic Egyptian song "Ghanili Shwaya, Shwaya", 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.

Other spellings for this song title include "Ganili Schwaye Schwaye", "Ghanely Shewaya", "Ghanny Li Shewaya", "Ghannili Sheway Sheway", "Gannili Showaya Showaya," and "Ganili Shwia Shwia."

 

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Lyrics

Note from Lennie Clark: This is an old song recorded by Oum Kolthoum. According to percussionist Ghaleb "Gaby" Tawil, it was her first song hit.

Arabic Lyrics

English Translation

Chorus

Chorus

Ghanili shwaaye shwaaye, Sing to me softly, softly,
Ghanili wa khutha ainaya Sing to me, you enchant me [literally, "you capture my eyes" or "you take my eyes"]
Ghanili shwaaye shwaaye Sing to me softly, softly, you enchant me [literally, "you capture my eyes" or "you take my eyes"]
Ghanili wa khutha ainaya Sing to me, you enchant me [literally, "you capture my eyes" or "you take my eyes"]
   

Verse

Verse

Khaliinii -- il khuul ilhaan, tetmaayel laha -- asmaa3iin Make me sing a tune, people swaying as they are listening
Wa rafraf, laha laghsoune, wa-an-narghis, wal yasmiin Waving for her the branches, and gardenia, and jasmine
Wasafir, laha rukbaan, taawiin-il bawaadii dday Travel with her the traveler, the Bedouin folding their blankets*
Shwaaye, shwaaye, shwaaye, shwaaye, Softly, softly, softly, softly
Ghanili ghanii khud 3aynaya. Sing to me, sing to me, you enchant me [literally, "you capture my eyes" or "you take my eyes"]
   

Repeat the Chorus

Repeat the Chorus

   

(Melody changes)

(Melody Changes)

Il maghna hayat il rouh, esma3ha-il a3liil isfaayn The song the life of my soul, the song can cure the ill
Wid-dow-wii kabid maghruuh, ilaTib a faayn To treat the injured liver, confused the doctors
Wat kalii Talaam il-laaiil, fii 3ayuun-ill habaayyib Daii And leave the darkness, night in lovers' eyes light
Shwaaye, shwaaye, shwaaye, shwaaye, Softly, softly, softly, softly
Ghanili ghanii khud 3aynaya. Sing to me, sing to me, you enchant me [literally, "you capture my eyes" or "you take my eyes"]
   

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus

   

(Melody changes)

(Melody Changes)

La ghanii, wa quul id-diir, min badrii sabaah al khayr I will sing I say for the birds, from early morning, good morning
La ghanii, wa quul id-diir, min badrii sabaah al khayr I will sing I say for the birds, from early morning, good morning
Wal qimrii, m3a khuudiir, wa yaa yaa! yaruudaw 3alaaya And the moon and the (green bird?) and O, O! They repeat with me
Shwaaye, shwaaye, shwaaye, shwaaye, Softly, softly, softly, softly
Ghanili ghanii khud 3aynaya. Sing to me, sing to me, you enchant me [literally, "you capture my eyes" or "you take my eyes"]
   

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus

   
Ahhliflik biraab il baayt, ya-msaadiq biraab il baayt I swear to you on the house of the Lord, O believers of the house of the Lord**
Ahhliflik biraab il baayt, ya-msaadiq biraab il baayt I swear to you on the house of the Lord, O believers of the house of the Lord**
Las-hiirkum id-da ghaniit The fantastic glory the people attracted to my singing,
Las-hiirkum id-da ghaniit The fantastic glory the people attracted to my singing,
Wa raaqus banaat il hhaayeh The girls of the neighborhood dancing
Shwaaye, shwaaye, shwaaye, shwaaye, Softly, softly, softly, softly
Ghanili ghanii khud 3aynaya. Sing to me, sing to me, you enchant me [literally, "you capture my eyes" or "you take my eyes"]
   

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus

   

(Melody changes)

(Melody Changes)

La ghanii, wa ghanii wa ghanii, wa wirrii-il khalaayiq fan-ni The song, my song, my song and show them the audience my art
Wal insii yequul il jan-nii wa raayah, yequul il jaay  
   

(Melody changes)

(Melody Changes)

Il maghna hayat il rouh, esma3ha-il a3liil isfaayn The song the life of my soul, the song can cure the ill
Wid-dow-wii kabid maghruuh, ilaTib a faayn To treat the injured liver, confused the doctors
Wat kalii Talaam il-laaiil, fii 3ayuun-ill habaayyib Daii And leave the darkness, night in lovers' eyes light
Shwaaye, shwaaye, shwaaye, shwaaye, Softly, softly, softly, softly
Ghanili ghanii khud 3aynaya. Sing to me, sing to me, you enchant me [literally, "you capture my eyes" or "you take my eyes"]
   

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus

 

* An idiomatic expression meaning someone is leaving. In other words, the Bedouin would fold their blankets in preparation for departing.

** Refers to the Kaaba in Mecca.

 

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Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Ghanny Li Shewaya CD Cover

 

Artist: Oum Kalthoum
CD Title: Ghanny Li Shewaya

Amazon Store: U.S. U.K.

La Diva De L'Orient CD Cover

 

Artist: Oum Kalthoum
CD Title: La Diva de L'Orient

Amazon Store: U.K.

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

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.

Best of Om Kolthoum CD Cover  

Artist: Hossam Ramzy
CD Title: Best of Om Kolthoum

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

 

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Translations of
Oum Kalthoum's Songs on This Site

 

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Acknowledgements

About the Author

This song was translated by Ghalep "Gaby" Tawil. Gaby started his career on television and radio in Jordan. He was in so much demand that he stayed in broadcasting for a total of eleven years. He traveled to many Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon, where he performed to some of the best venues with top entertainers, such as Sabah and Nadia Gamal. Gaby played with famous Middle Eastern musicians and singers at private parties for royalty, the rich, and the famous.

He resided in New York and circuited the city's hottest nightclubs, including the El Darwich, Cedars of Lebanon, Sinbad's, and Aladdin. He assisted many Middle Eastern dance instructors such as Bobby Farrah and Yousry Sharif in teaching their students to understand the complex Middle Eastern rhythms. He has recorded in numerous studios with famous Middle Eastern artists such as Sabah, Bobby Farrah, and Nadia Gamal and many more. Gaby also had the honor of performing at the Cedars of Lebanon nightclub with Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant.

He moved to Arizona in 1996 where he has been teaching workshops, groups, and private classes in Phoenix and Tucson. He continues to accompany belly dance instructors in their studios to teach the students Middle Eastern rhythms.

Gaby played at a private party in Amman, Jordan with the very famous singer Abdel Halim Hafez. In Haleb, Syria he worked with famous singers Sabah Fakari, Mohammed Hairi, and Suad Mohammed and famous dancer Fifi Abdo.

Gaby Tawil

 

About the Source

This article originally appeared on Lennie Clark's web site, "Arabic Song Translations." Lennie created this web site in 2002 as a response to discussion on the Internet regarding incidents of dancers who performed inappropriate sensual dances to religious music. Lennie's web site resided on a free web hosting service known as Geocities.

When the planned October 2009 closure of the Geocities web hosting service was announced, Lennie and Shira agreed to move the contents of Lennie's site to Shira.net. To explore all the articles and song translations that once appeared on Lennie's Geocities site, visit Lennie's portal page here on Shira.net.

Lennie Clark

 

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