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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

From the Site

Arab Song Translations

By Lennie Clark


From Lennie Clark's Web Site:

Samra, Ya Samra
(Samra, Oh Samra)


This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to "Samra Ya Samra", which was sung by Karim Mahmoud and many others. Also included is a transliteration of the Arabic lyrics into the Roman alphabet so you can sing along if you like.

"Samra" is a woman's name that means "the dark-skinned woman".




Note from Lennie Clark: "The translation is by George Dabai, who used to be one of the musicians at the Arabic clubs in San Francisco," Linda writes. "I took singing and percussion classes from him for several years. You can find the song on many, many old tapes." What follows is a "very rough translation", according to Linda.

Arabic Lyrics

English Translation

Samra ya Samra marra fee marra
Shaghalny hawaku
Shaghalny hawaku
Damek gheffa our tag el effa
Shabakny maakee shabaknee maakee

Samra, oh Samra
Time after time I see you
Your love disturbs the hell out of me
Your light blood*, she's cute.

Samra ya Samra helwa ya samra
Ya Samra ya Samra
Samra, oh Samra, oh sweet Samra
Oh Samra, oh Samra
Samra ya helwa ya lahne ya ghen
Wa ya ahla raneen
Wa ya ahla raneen
Seher el hageb dabeyet aageb alhelween
Shoftoh ba ateh min nary ya Samra
Shoftoh ba ateh min nary ya Samra
Tayeh ked mosh dary ya Samra
Wente el kass we shafayfek khamra
By looking at her, you can tell she's honest
That's the reason I fell in love with
It has a beautiful tune to the ear [Comparing her to a beautiful song]
This eyebrow of yours makes the one next to you un-beautiful
Ya Samra ya Samra ya helwa ya Samra
Ya Samra ya Samra
Samra, oh Samra, oh sweet Samra
Oh Samra, oh Samra
Wared khedoudek gah aala oudek zadoh gamal
Khala el sho'ore ye shoofoo el somur ye batoo fe hal
Eirfoo el nar wel gheira ya Samra
Aashoo fe zouil ou heira ya Samra
Wente el kass el shafayfek khamsa
I saw her I became
By all the fire in my heart
I don't know where I am
You are the glass of love and your lips are the drink
Your cheeks make your body more beautiful. [He is comparing her to a rose on a stem]
Ya Samra ya Samra ya helwa ya Samra Samra, oh Samra, oh sweet Samra
Batlob widek alan foli radek
Maana el aafaa
Afra beike wa oul-le-aayheke
Ya ramz el kheffa
Radek fee el aazaya Samra
Aeayef albee maaza ya Samra
Winta el Kass we shafeyek khamra
You make blondes look at brunettes and get jealous
Every time I ask you to come close to me I get the answer:
The meaning of purity
I am so happy looking at you and I tell your eyes
Your answer is a big meaning to me
You have added much love to my heart
Samra ya Samra ya helwa ya Samra Ya Samra ya Samra Samra, oh Samra, oh sweet Samra
Oh Samra, oh Samra

* "Light blood" is a compliment in Arabic, it has something to do with a person's mood.



Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Egyptian Oud and Vocals CD Cover


Artist: Karim Mahmoud
CD Title: Egyptian Oud & Vocal

Golden Hits by Eddie Kochak


Artist: Eddie Kochak
CD Title: Golden Hits

Music of the Middle East CD Cover


Artist: John Berberian Ensemble
CD Title: Music of the Middle East

Leylet Ouns CD Cover


Artist: Mohammed Hussein
CD Title: Leylet Ouns: Arabic Party Hits




About the Person Who Provided the Translation

Linda Grondahl's background is that of a devoted lover of Arabic music and dance. She danced with Amina and the Aswan Dancers for many years. She took Arabic percussion with Mary Ellen Donald, Su Su Pampanin, George Dubai, Vince Deldado, and Tony Lammam. She took Arabic singing from Nicole Ibrahim, Mimi Spencer, Georges Lammam. On the oud, she studied under Nazir Latouf, Mimi Spencer, Abdullah Kdough. She was a member of the Aswat Arab-American Choir under the direction of Elias Lammam. She is now a member of the El Ashaab dance troupe, and Tahneen, the all-girl, all-American Middle eastern music ensemble. They have played for Arab and American events, and for many years at the Rakassah festival.

"I just saved whatever I could get my hands on, for years", writes Linda, "and really don't know why. It was always so dificult to get music, so I just kept on saving."

Linda lives in San Francisco, California. Her favorite color is any shade of purple.

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 To explore all the articles and song translations that once appeared on Lennie's Geocities site, visit Lennie's portal page here on

Lennie Clark



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