It is difficult to track the roots of "Mustapha", but it is almost certain that they were in North Africa, and most probably, in Egypt. One source told me that the song appears in a popular old Egyptian film. What I know certain is that it is a popular party song in the entire Middle East!
The Arabic lyrics are about a man named (what else?) Mustapha, who has been away from home for a long time. The song asks him to come back soon — or at least write home. [Click here for a translation of the lyrics.]
In the Turkish version, a young woman tells her boyfriend: "Let’s get married and put an end to this; I have a child in my belly!”
Bruno Gigliotti (Orlando), the brother of famous singer Dalida, also covered the song. Bruno and Dalida grew up in Cairo where their father worked as first violinist at the opera. Dalida was crowned Miss Egypt in 1954, then appeared as a supporting actress in 1955 in the Samia Gamal movie A Glass and a Cigarette. Following her silver screen success, Dalida moved to France where she became a major star. Orlando became a famous singer in Egypt and worked in all the important nightclubs in Cairo. In the early ‘60s, he went to Paris to become a big star like his sister. He remembered short parts of the song "Ya Mustapha” and recorded it. Therefore, long before Raï was developed in North Africa, Orlando became the first singer to record a mix of both French and Arabic lyrics. Two of his other songs were entitled "Fattouma" and "Ali Baba," and he recorded repeatedly in both French and Italian. From 1966 on, he served as the Artistic Director and Producer for Dalida.
Around the World
Same Name, Different Song!
Beware! The Arabic name Mustapha is very popular and not every song with “Mustapha” in its title is related to the one discussed in this article!
The Queen’s album, “Jazz,” includes a song called “Mustapha,” and The Clash feature their “Mustapha Dance” (better known as “Rock the Casbah”). Additionally, a "Ya Mustapha" exists by the Sabri Brothers who ordinarily play religious Qawwali music, however, all these are actually entirely different songs with only the title in common.
If you are an enthused Mustapha fan, you can also program the tune as a ring tone on your mobile phone:
Tempo = 125
Nokia KeyPress : 48, 69, 68, 69, 6, 68#, 1*, 6**#, 6, 59, 58, 5, 5, 59, 5, 68, 6#, 6, 5, 49, 68, 69, 68, 69, 6, 68#, 1*, 6**#, 6, 59, 58, 5, 5, 59, 5, 68, 6#, 6, 5, 49, 68, 6, 5, 49, 4, 58, 6, 5, 4, 69
This ring tone was found at www.rannat.com. Take care when visiting the site - some people have reported issues with it.
About This Article
This article originally appeared in the German dance magazine Halima and on the Gilded Serpent e-zine web site. It appears here on Shira.net with the permission of the author.
About the Author
Meissoun has produced 3 instructional videos, for Lebanese style and Bollywood dance.
She has been writing articles about dance related topics for many years. Many of these were published in German dance magazines such as Halima, TanzOriental, and Bastet. Two of the most popular articles on her website are shopping guides for Istanbul and Cairo. You can read more here: www.meissoun.ch
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