Showing posts with label Arabic Poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arabic Poetry. Show all posts

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Arabology Interviews Syrian Poet Lubna Kayyali

 Listen to the interview at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/lubnakayyali

Stanford Lecturer+ Arabology radio show host Dr. Ramzi Salti interviews Syrian Poet Lubna Kayyali who recites her poem ما زلت لا أنجح [I Still Do Not Succeed] in Arabic + English Translation.
This interview was recorded at KZSU 90.1 FM (Stanford University) in November 2018.
Listen to the interview below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/lubnakayyali


For a video excerpt of Lubna Kayyali reciting her poem in Arabic, watch below or go to: https://youtu.be/gTCvVikQDKE



Here is the poem in Arabic + English Translation ©Lubna Kayyali


I have been told
To reap the fruits, you must labor
To prove that the earth rotates,
You must subtract five from ten
and become a scientist
Your ethnic color will dim
And you will raise up your gender

I was told
To reign over the language
You must memorize its alphabet
And chant in rhymes
For only then would you attain civility
Your dialect will fade
And your star will shine bright

I was told
To understand, you must read
And to succeed, you must understand
So I labored, memorized, recited, read, understood
But I did not succeed
I dared to inquire: why?
They replied:
Your star is still dim
So I seized a golden thunderbolt and struck my star
It tilted, straightened, then shone bright
In the sky of defeated stars
But, still, I do not succeed
So, again, I asked: why?
They answered:
Your dialect is Aleppian and you exude Damascene jasmine and lilies
So, I stole a foreign tongue
Chewed on it for hours, days, and decades
But my mouth swelled and my ​Dadd* transformed to a broken, frail Ghain**
But, still, I am not succeeding
Perplexed, I asked: why?
They answered:
Your gender is feeble and contemptible
It was, after all, created from a rib
Doomed to live in life’s margins
With bread and meat at its very core
And countless children as its ultimate end
So I skinned my soft flesh
Replaced it with scales of steel
Ripped out my perfumed hair
And wore my grandfather’s ancient fez instead
I plucked out my rosy nails
And affixed, in their place, tyrannical claws
But, still, I was not succeeding…
Baffled, I asked: why?
They answered:
Your color remains Arabic
Its shadow is Syrian
And you are now in the land of Giants
They hate the Arab
And loathe the Syrian
So I scurried to the box of crayons
And painted myself in white, green, and blonde
I spoke and walked my colors
Until I mastered them
Until I forgot the land of my ancestors
Until I forgot my father’s Kufic​*** pen
Until I forgot my grandmother’s Rifa’i cuisine

Then they spoke to me again
But to whom were they speaking?
They said: you!
But who am I?
...
And I still do not succeed




*​Dadd (الضاد     ): a letter unique to the Arabic language.
** Ghain (الغين    ): a soft-sounding letter in
Arabic.  

*** Kufic (كوفي    ): the oldest calligraphic form of the various Arabic scripts.

قد قیل لي
 إن اجتهدتِ حصدتِ
 إن طَرَحْتِ خمسة من عشرة أثَبتِ أن الأرض تدور
  وغدوت عالمة
 لونك یشُف وجِنْسكِ یرقى

  قد قیل لي
 إن حفظتِ الأبجدیة ونشدتِ القافیة تمَلَّكْتِ اللغة
 وأصبحت راقیة
 لهجتُكِ تبْهَت ونجمكِ یسطع


 قد قیل لي
  إن قرأت فهمت وإن فهمت نجحت
 فاجتهدت وحفظت ونشدت وقرأت وفهمت
  ولكنني لم أنجح
 استقصیت: لماذا؟
 أجابوني
  مازال نجمك خافت
 فأخذت صاعقة ذهبیة وضربت نجمي
 فمال واعتدل وسطع في سماء النجوم الخاسرة
 ولكنني مازلت لا أنجح
 سألت: لماذا؟

أجابوني
 لهجتك حلبیة وریحك تفوح یاسمین دمشقي وریحانا
 فسرقت لسان أعجمي
 ولكْتُهُ ساعةً ویومًا وعقودا
 فتهیج فمي وتبدلت الضاد إلى غیْنْ لینة مكسورة
 ولكنني مازلت لا أنجح
 تعجبت: لماذا؟
  أجابوني
 جنسك خسیس واهن
  قد خلق من ضلع مهشم
 وهاهو یعیش حیاة مهمشة
 محورها خبز ولحم ومآلها أطفال معددة
 فسلخت جلدي الناعم
 وركبت حراشف فولاذیة
 واقتلعت شعري المعطر
 وارتدیت طربوش جدي المعتق
 ونزعت أظافري الزهریة
 وثَّبتُ مخالب مُسَتِّبدة
 ولكنني مازلت لا أنجح
 ذهلت: لماذا؟
 أجابوني
 مازال لونك عربي
وظله سوري
 وأنت على أرض العمالقة
 یكرهون العربي
 ویحتقرون السوري
  فهرعت إلى علبة الألوان
 وتلونت بالأخضر والأبیض والأشقر
  وأتقنت ألواني فنسیت أرض أجدادي
 ونسیت قلم أبي الكوفي
 ونسیت مطبخ جدتي الرفاعي
 فكلموني
 ولم أعرف من یكلمون
 قالوا لي: أنت
 فقلت: ومن أنا؟
….
 ومازلت لا أنجح


 ©Lubna Kayyali

Listen to the full interview below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/lubnakayyali










Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Mete Tasin Sings "Lamma Badda Yatathanna" Live in Concert

Dr. Ramzi Salti (left) introduces Tenor Mate Tasin 

Turkish Opera singer Mete Tasin, whose repertoire has long included songs in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Persian, and Turkish, recently debuted an amazing rendition of the song "Lamma Bada Yatathanna" لما بدا يتثنى  in Arabic.  The song was introduced by Stanford Lecturer Dr. Ramzi Salti during Mete's concert at Angelica's in Redwood City on Saturday April 28, 2018 and left the audience cheering for more.  You can watch Mete's performance below or at https://youtu.be/owP7nqpVMyM


Lamma Bada Yatathanna is an ancient muwashshah, a genre of secular music from Al Andalus, Moorish Spain, which means it’s from some time before 1492. Here are the lyrics in Arabic and in English translation:

لما بدا يتثـنى *** حبي جمـاله فتنــا
أوما بلحظه أسرنا *** غصن سـنا حين مال
وعدي ويا حيرتى *** من لي رحيم شكوتي
في الحب من لوعتي ***إلا مليـك الجمــال

When my beloved begins to sway,
His/her beauty drives me to distraction
When I am enraptured by a glimpse,
My beloved’s beauty is a tender branch caught by the breeze;
Oh my destiny, my perplexity,
No one can comfort me in my misery,
In my lamenting and suffering for love,
But for the one in the beautiful mirage

Mete Tasin is a compelling and versatile opera singer who was born in Germany and raised in Turkey. He studied with Prof. Guzin GUREL at Istanbul University State Conservatory and Patricia McCaffrey at Brooklyn College (Master of Music). His career began in Minnesota, USA with Carmen ( Don Jose ) and Lucia di Lammermoor ( Arturo ). Mete has been in many leading roles in Europe, United States and Turkey.

For more info about Mete, see http://www.metetasin.com/

Friday, March 2, 2018

Tania Saleh Intersects Music, Art, and Poetry in New Arabology Interview

Listen at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/taniasaleh2018
My 60-minute Arabology interview with Lebanese singer/songwriter/artist Tania Saleh was initially intended to discuss the music on her new "Intersection" CD yet quickly expanded into a lively discussion of the singer's latest project where music, poetry and street art intersect to give birth to a totally unprecedented audio-visual work--one that merits time and explanation in order to be fully savored and appreciated. This project, coupled with Tania's poignant commentary about each track on the album, made for a rich, informative interview that could have easily transfixed any audience worldwide (listen below or at this link).



First, there are Tania's angelic vocals which, when combined with Tunisian Music Producer Khalil Judran's contemporary electronic sounds, give new life to poems by such acclaimed poets as Mahmoud Darwish, Khalil Gibran,  Nizar Qabbani, Nazik Al-Malaika, Bayram Al-Tunsi, Abdallah Al Bardawni, Joumana, Haddad, Bader Shaker Al-Sayyab, Salah Jahin,Younes El Ebn and Ahmad Fouad Najm.  This new approach not only payed homage to these great Arab poets but also made their work accessible to a whole new generation of listeners, both in and out of the Arab world, whose sole musical connections to these poems had been relegated to singers from their parents' generation.  Case in point is Tania's musical interpretation of Gibran's "There Is No Justice in the Forest  ليس في الغابات عدل"-- a mesmerizing track that seems reminiscent of Fairuz when she so gloriously set Gibran's poetry to music back in the 1970's.

Second, this is perhaps the first time in the history of contemporary Arabic music that an entire CD has been so eloquently accompanied by a documentary that seeks to link each song with a work of art or, in this case, with murals that were painted by Tania Saleh herself on the walls of various cities around the world. That intercession between Tania's artwork and songs has been brilliantly documented in Tania Saleh "Intersection - تقاطع": The Film, a 15-minute audio-visual feast (with English subtitles) that was brilliantly directed by Elie Fahed and released on YouTube to coincide with the launch of the CD (watch below or at https://youtu.be/jH0NSa6Vu4c).


Third, Tania Saleh's "Intersection" also functions as a much needed socio-political commentary on the state of the Arab world at various historical junctures--a fact that is evidenced through the thoughtful and well researched commentary she shared with us during our recent Arabology interview. Tania is not shy about critiquing an Arab world that is suffering from endless wars and internal conflicts but through it all, she still manages to find some kind of unity in the music that she has sought to create since the 1990s--tracks that express the pain she feels for the region with a sense of optimism that is consistently found within her lyrics.

Fourth, it seems quite crucial to note the tragic absence of companies and individuals in the Arab world who could or would have ever released a musical project of such high caliber. As Tania puts in our interview, "this musical project would not have seen the light were it not for Erik Hillestad, the Kirkelig Kulturverksted label, and the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs."  To all those, we owe a note of thanks, coupled with a call to various venues worldwide--and especially in the US--to invite singers such as Tania Saleh to come and share their work with us, for it is perhaps in the global intersection of music and art that we can finally aspire to a richer, more tolerant world.
يسرّني أن أدعوكم للاستماع الى حواري الاذاعي مع تانيا صالح الذي يدور حول البومها الجديد «تقاطع» وهو مشروع فني يجمع بين الغناء والريشة وأشعار #جبران_خليل_جبران #نازك_الملائكة #نزار_قباني #صلاح_جاهين #محمود_درويش #بدر_شاكر_السياب #عبدالله_البردوني #جمانة_حداد #أحمد_فؤاد_نجم #يونس_الابن #بيرم_التونسي
:يمكنكم الاستماع الى المقابلة بأكملها عبر الرابط التالي

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

He Was My Friend: A Poem by Karim Al Iraqi (Translated by Ramzi Salti)

"Kana Sadiqi" كان صديقي [He Was My Friend] is an Arabic poem written by Iraqi poet Karim Aliraqi كريم العراقي  aka Karim Odeh  كريم عوده, about finding himself in the role of intermediary between a couple (two friends of his) whose love he had once witnessed but who were now breaking up. The poet speaks of his dilemma in the video below then goes on to recite the poem in Arabic. 
Poem translated into English by Dr. Ramzi Salti.

قصيدة "كان صديقي" للشاعر كريم العراقي (كريم عوده) يخاطب بها حبيبين افترقا وكان هو الوسيط بينهما والذي يشكى كل منهما له همه وسبب بعده عن حبيبه الآخر.
ترجم القصيدة الى الانجليزية الدكتور رمزي سلطي


This video shows the poet, Karim Al Iraqi, reading his poem in 2014: https://youtu.be/4OmUsp78A



He was my friend and she was eternally his.
Their love story, revered by everyone
How could that story, once so sweet,
Transform into quarrels, desertion, neglect?
And I, the witness, wounded in their battle
Caught between their sharp, fiery swords

I saw him, looking ill, pale, lost
His heart shattered, bleeding from regret
Be my doctor, he said, and bear my pain
Have you seen her? Did she speak of me?
Was her sorrow deeper than mine?
Does that same perfume still engulf her
Or has she changed it, repulsed by memory
I lost her like a fool loses everything
As if I had cut off my own hand.
My friend wept; she had been eternally his
That love that legends are made of.

She met me, her complexion pale
A burning candle, consumed by fire,
Wounded by the mere mention of his name
She clutched my hand, cried me a storm
He is the one, she said, who broke me
Who drenched my life in sorrow and woe
Yet I wish him well, unconditionally,
As a mother would love her child.
Tell me is he still in agony
For I fear what despair may do to him
To his fragility, to his being.
I fear for him and not myself.
Tell him that the wind has swept away,
From the harbor, a woman he once loved
Ask him to seek distant shores
For my ship he sank, my very security
Eternally lost now to he whose love
Had been my home and anchor

This story of ours, has it been told?
She talked, he talked, until the dawn
My hand, holding the phone, incessantly.
Return to each other or break apart forever
Two fiery swords, cutting me,
Bleeding the life right out of me
You have become, alas, motherless children




كان صديقي وكانت حبـَّه الأبدي
بل كان حبُّهما حكايةَ البلدِ
واستغرب الناسُ كيف القصة انقلبت
إلى خصامٍ، إلى هجرٍ، إلى نكدِ
أما أنا الشاهدُ المجروحُ بينهما
سيفان من نار يختصمان في كبدي
.....................
هو التقاني مريضاً.. تائهَ القدمِ
محطمَ القلب.. أدمى اصبع الندمِ
"كن يا صديقي طبيبي واحتمل ألمي"
هل قابلتكَ؟ وهل حدّثتَها عني؟
هل حزنـُها كان أقسى؟ أم أنا حزني؟
وذلك العطرُ هل لا زال يغمرها؟
أم غيرتهُ؟ نعم، مستاءة ٌ مني
خسرتـُها يا لطيشي لا بديل لها
ماذا فعلتُ لو قطعتُ يدي؟"
بكى صديقي.. كانت حبــَّهُ الأبدي
بل كان حبـُّهما أسطورة البلدِ
.....................
هي التقتني وقد شحُبت ملامحُها
وكما يذوبُ الشمعُ في النارِ
كان اسمُه لو مرَّ يجرحها
مسكتْ يدي وبكتْ كإعصارِ
" هو الذي دمـَّر أحلامي
هو الذي أمطرني همّا
لكنني أوصيك خيراً به
كأنني صرتُ له أمـّا
بالله هل ما زال مضطرباً؟
أخشى عليه نوبة اليأس ِ
إحساسُه العالي سيقتلـُهُ
خوفي عليه لا على نفسي
بلـِّـغه أن الريحَ قد خطفت
بنتاً على الميناءِ يعشقها
وليتجه لشواطئ ٍ أخرى
فسفينتي بيديهِ أغرقها
سَرق الأمانُ وضاع للأبدِ
من خلتـُهُ سقفي ومعتمدي"
.....................
تلك الحكاية ُ هل مرَّتْ على أحدِ؟
وكلـّمتني.. وكلـّمني.. لصبح غدِ
ما فارق الهاتفُ السهرانُ كفَّ يدي
عودا لبعضٍ أو انفصلا إلى الأبدِ
سيفان من نارٍ تختصمان في كبدي
ففيكما الآن شوقُ الأمِّ للولد
This poem was set to music and recorded by Iraqi singer Kazem El Saher. Listen below or at https://youtu.be/4A0jxpTcTZ0:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Arabology Podcast Available (Jan 20, 2015)



The third episode of the 9th season of  Arabology episode aired on Jan 20, 2015 and includes interview with Jordanian singer Haifa Kamal featuring excerpts from her new Denya CD + Mahmoud Darwish biography and poetry set to music + Jewish singers singing in Arabic.

Listen or download below or at https://soundcloud.com/arabology/arabology92

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Course on Classical Arabic Poetry at Stanford this Winter

This winter, Professor Alexander Key will be teaching a course on 'Classical Arabic Poetry' at Stanford. This is the first time that such a course is offered and it will include readings in Arabic as well as assignments and discussions in English.

Here is more info:

CLASSICAL ARABIC POETRY: AN INTRODUCTION

COMPLIT 194A Tuesday/Thursday 3:15–5:05 • Winter 2013 Alexander Key • akey@stanford.edu

The primary litmus test of proficiency in the Arabic language is, and has always been, a command of classical Arabic poetry. Study and memorize the great lines of Arabic poetry with a manual that has stood the pedagogical test of time from the eleventh century until today. Questions of literary merit, poetic technique, metaphor, and divine and human linguistic innovation are all raised by the text that we will read together. Readings in Arabic, assignments and discussion in English. Prerequisite: two years of Arabic at Stanford, or equivalent.





Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Double DVD Set Release of Arab Poet Adonis Reciting His Poetry




A double DVD set of Syrian poet Adonis titled 'Mounchidan' أدونيس منشداً has recently been released and is also available in audio format on Amazon, iTunes, etc.  This is a project that was overseen by the poet's daughter Ninar Esber and comes a few years after Esber's book titled Conversations avec Adonis mon père, [Conversations with Adonis, my Father] which was published by Editions du Seuil, Paris, in 2006.

Here is an exerpt from the double DVD set showing Adonis reciting his own poetry:



To order the DVD set go yo http://eka3.bigcartel.com/product/adonis-ninar-esber-mounchidan-2dvd

Adonis or Adunis (Arabic: أدونيس), is a Syrian poet, essayist, and translator who was born on January 1, 1930. His real name is Ali Ahmad Said Esber (Arabic: علي أحمد سعيد إسبر‎; transliterated: alî ahmadi sa'îdi asbar or Ali Ahmad Sa'id).  He has written more than twenty books and volumes of poetry in the Arabic language as well as translated several works from French.

Quote about Adonis by his daughter, artist Ninar Esber:
"My work as an artist has always driven me towards themes that are related to performance. For this project (which requires personal involvement on my part), I had the idea of filming Adonis as he recites his poetry. My ambition was to produce a filmed document of Adonis’s recited poetry, which would serve, by way of this privileged example, as a celebration of Arab poetry’s oral dimension.

When Adonis recites his poetry, he provides it with a bodily dimension. His voice, filled with emotions, is at the service of the language, and brings forth its musicality, as well as its warm and sensual tones. It is a tribute to the voice, to the music of the Arabic language, to a tradition that is still very much alive.

This piece disposes of one type of frame, one type of shot, and one type of lighting. The date references before each poem remind the viewer of the performative aspect of this project. Without music and without illustration, the setting is treated minimally (black background), which goes hand in hand with my preferred way of treating the image. For me, it is simply a matter of bringing the voice and the Arabic language to the forefront.

This project forms the logical conclusion to a book of interviews that I conducted with my father (Conversations avec Adonis, mon père), which was published by Editions du Seuil, Paris, in 2006.

Unlike the book, which found me on my father's own territory (language, writing, literature, the text, the book, etc.), this project consists of a genuine meeting between our respective worlds, the artistic universe and the poetic/literary universe."

--Ninar Esber 2011

To order the DVD set go yo http://eka3.bigcartel.com/product/adonis-ninar-esber-mounchidan-2dvd

Ramzi Salti's Arabology Radio Show Counts Down Top 20 Indie Arabic Songs of 2018

Listen to this episode at  https://soundcloud.com/arabology/top2018 The latest episode of the popular radio show Arabology , which air...