This week’s music for belly dance class is “Hayyarti Albi Maak” – the last of our Oum Kalthoum series for the month of April. This song came out in 1961, composed by Riad al Sombati with lyrics by Ahmed Rami. Both of these men were long-time collaborators over the course of Oum Kalthoum’s 5 decade career. In my opinion, some of her most beautiful and sophisticated music was written for her by Sombati!

“Hayyarti Albi Maak” means “You have confused/puzzled my heart”. Here’s an excerpt of the lyrics:

You have puzzled my heart .. as I try to hide [my love]
Tell me what to do with you .. or what to do with my heart
I want to plain about my love’s fire .. I want to tell you what pains my heart3
to tell you what kept me awake .. to tell you what made me cry
to describe my soul’s pain to you .. but my soul’s dignity is preventing me

You can read the full lyric translation here.

Here is Oum Kalthoum singing the original song.

I really like this solo oud version with Oum Kalthoum’s voice and the English translation. I don’t know if that was recorded this way or if it’s some new-fangled manipulation, but it is delicate and lovely – and you can read along with the translation. It’s a nice way to see how the music and her voice capture the emotion of Rami’s text.

The version we were dancing to in class is not available on YouTube, but you can find a very similar version here.