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

يا بهية
Ya Bahiyya (Ya Baheya)

O Bahiyya


This page contains the translation to the song lyrics of "Ya Bahiyya". Other ways this is often spelled are "Ya Baheya" or "Ya Bahaia".

  • Ya Bahiyya (O Baheya), Traditional
  • Song Title in Arabic: يا بهية
  • In the Motion Picture Sayidat el-Qitar (Lady on the Train), 1952
  • In the Motion Picture Law'et el-Hob (Agony of Love), 1960
  • Lyrics for Leila Murad's Version: Mahmoud Bayram al-Tounsi
  • First Commercial Release: Leila Murad, 1952

There is more than one song that uses this title. The one translated on this page is a folkloric piece from Upper Egypt and was recorded by Leila Murad (Layla Mourad), and the other was composed by Baligh Hamdi, performed by Mohamed El-Ezabi. These are entirely different pieces of music. Click here for more information about both of these songs.

Has Also Been Recorded By:

  • Leila Murad, 1952, in Sayidat el-Qitar.
  • Shadia, 1960, in Law'et el-Hob. Shared parts of the same melody and lyrics as Leila Murad's version. Credited Fathi Qoura with the lyrics and Mounir Murad (Leila's brother) with the melody
  • Mohamed Taha, 1966.
  • Leila Nazmi, 1969

Maqam: Saba
Rhythm: Iqa Saidi

About Leila Murad

Leila Murad was a Jewish-Egyptian singer and actress whose popularity soared during the Golden Era of Egyptian movie musicals. Her father was a singer and religious cantor, and her brother Mounir Murad achieved success as an actor and music composer.

Murad was born February 17, 1918. At age 9, she made her stage debut at a new nightclub, Sala Badia, which Badia Masabni had just opened the previous year. At age 15, she made her debut on the silver screen, in the movie El Dahya (The Victims). This film had originally been released as a silent movie in 1932. However, it was reworked to add sound to it, and re-released in 1935 with Leila Murad performing a song in it.

Over the course of her career, Murad performed more than 1,000 songs, and appeared in 27 films.




Listen to MP3 Clips of this Song

Watch video of the great shaabi singer Mohamed Taha singing "Ya Baheya".

Note Sung by Layla Mourad on volume 7 of The Complete Collection
Note Sung by the Abu Zariya Band on the album Music of the Fellahin produced by Aisha Ali
Note From the album Cairo Caravan Belly Dance with Dina by Hollywood Music Center. This exact same version also appears on the album Very Belly Dance by Maha.
Note From the album I Remember Egypt



This translation is based on the lyrics used in a version performed by shaabi singer Mohamed Taha. If you find a recording by him, you might notice that the lyrics in your recording don't quite match the ones in this translation. That's because he was known for his improvisational style. In a performance, he would often spontaneously repeat a line or make an exclamation.


English Lyrics

Wana kulu ma aqul el-toba And everything I say is remorse.



Ya Baheyya khabberini ya buya, 'Ale gatal Yassin O Baheyya, tell me who killed Yassin
Layali eini Night, my eyes!
Gataluh-es-sud 'eneyya ya buya, Men fog dahr-el-hagin (2) (She said) My black eyes as I was riding the camel.
Ah ya eini! Oh my eyes!

Verse 1:

Verse 1:

Ya-khawati roddo 'aleyya Ana mali-w-mal Yassin (2) O brothers answer me, what have I to do with Yassin
Di suretha meyya-l-meyya Fi galbi men senin Her picture was a hundred percent in my heart for years.

Verse 2:

Verse 2:

'Atshan (w) ma saguni We gulalhom malyanin (2) I was thirsty and they gave me no water though their jars were full.
We-bnar-esh-shog kawuni Mehtar aruh le-min With the fire of love they burned me with a hot iron. To whom shall I turn for help?

Verse 3:

Verse 3:

El-wa'de ya buy ramani We-msattar 'ag-gebin (2), ya Habibi I am a victim of a false promise, it is written on my forehead, oh my love.
We Baheyya-msaharani Ma'a lel-el-ashegin And Baheyya is keeping me awake. I am experiencing the sleepless night of the lovers.

Verse 4:

Verse 4:

Ya Baheyya-na asli sa'idi O Baheyya, I am Upper Egyptian,
Wen-nas goddamek shahda And the people around you are witnesses.
We-nhafez 'ala mawa'idi I keep my promises,
Wet-toba aslaha wahda And repentance happens only once.
Ana tayeb wen-nabi tayeb I am repenting, O by the Prophet I am repenting
Khallina-shab we habayeb (2) Let us remain friends and lovers.
We monaya-ttem-el-farha My hope is that happiness is complete
Ma'a-buki-w-ne'ra-l-fatha That I get a verbal agreement from your father.
We madad ya Genawi nazra O, (Saint) Genawi, help me get a look
We 'aleh nehlef yamin. On you I shall take an oath.

Verse 5:

Verse 5:

'Abd-er-Rahim ya Genawi O (Saint) 'Abd-al-Rahim, O (Saint) Genawi,
Mahsubak men senin (2) I have been your obedient follower for years.
'Al-fatha w Allah-na nawi Shellah Sedna-l-Hosen By God, I intend to get the verbal agreement, O our master al-Husayn, Help!



Where to Get Recordings of this Song



Listen to Clip

Artist: Layla Mourad
CD Title: The Complete Collection

Music of the Fellahin Album Cover


Listen to Clip

Publisher: Aisha Ali
CD Title: Music of the Fellahin

Cairo Caravan - Belly Dance with Dina


Listen to Clip

Artist: Cairo Caravan
CD Title: Belly Dance with Dina

I Remember Egypt Album Cover


Listen to Clip

Artist: Not Identified
CD Title: I Remember Egypt



Translations of
Leila Murad's Songs On This Site

Translations on this web site for songs performed by Leila Murad include:



About the Contributor

This translation was done by Dr. George Sawa for Yasmina Ramzy of Arabesque Academy of Toronto, Canada. I'd like to thank Yasmina for making this translation available to you via my web site.

Yasmina Ramzy has been performing, teaching, and choreographing Middle Eastern dance since 1981. She has toured extensively throughout Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Greece, England, Mexico, the United States, and Canada as a soloist and with her company, sometimes performing for royalty and heads of state in many of these countries. She is the Artistic Director of Arabesque Academy, School of Culture-Specific Dance and the Arabesque Dance Company. Although Yasmina has dedicated her life to Middle Eastern dance, she also produces Gypsy and Dancenet which are culture-specific dance and music events with an educational slant. She is also a member of Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists and serves of the board of directors for Dance Ontario.



About the Translator

Dr. George Sawa was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He has over 50 years of experience in Arabic music performance, history and theory, and has performed and lectured extensively worldwide: Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Europe (Spain, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Greece) and the Middle East (Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates). He studied qanun, theory and voice at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music.

After immigrating to Canada, Dr. Sawa studied ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto, and obtained his doctorate in historical Arabic musicology. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on medieval, modern, and religious music of the Middle East at the University of Toronto and at York University.

Dr. Sawa is the author of:

  • Music Performance Practice in the Early Abbasid Era. 132-320 AH/750-932 AD
  • Rhythmic Theories and Practices in Arabic Writings to 339AH/950 CE (Ottawa: The Institute of Mediaeval Music, 2004 and 2009)
  • An Arabic Musical and Socio-Cultural Glossary of Kitab al-Aghani (The Book of Songs) of al-Isbahani (d. 971) (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2015).
  • Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers

Dr. Sawa has published over 50 articles on Arabic music in refereed journals and encyclopedias, and is frequently invited to give lectures and concerts worldwide. In 2005, he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for his research in Arabic music history.

George Sawa

George has been the musical director for several productions of the Toronto-based Arabesque Dance Company, and taught hundreds of dancers at the Arabesque Academy and Hannan's Bellydance Studio in Toronto, as well as studios in Canada, USA, Brazil and Mexico. His first CD release, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 1, was nominated for a JUNO Award in World Music in 2009. A subsequent volume, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 2, was released in 2009.

His book Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers has won international acclaim and serves as an invaluable - one of a kind - companion to bellydancers all over the world. (It is available in English, Chinese, French, Greek, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, German and Portuguese). A companion set of two DVDs produced with Lulu Hartenbach in Brazil includes over 50 tracks of dancing instruction from his CDs and book: Lulu and George Dimitri Sawa. Apreciação de Música Árabe para Bailarinas - Teoria & Prática 2 vols. Sao Paulo: Ventreoteca. Produzido por Kaleidoscopio de Ideias. Shimmie, 2015.

Presently Dr. Sawa is working on a book Erotica, Love, and Humor in Arabia which will be published by McFarland in 2016.

For more information on Dr. Sawa's books, musical recordings, and videos, see his web site at .

Dr. George Sawa




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