Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Folklore song and translation- عذب الجمّال قلبي 'The camel driver tormented my heart '

This song evokes an ancient romance between a roaming nomadic camel driver (Arabic: جمّال Jammaal) and a girl who dreams of wandering into the desert with him. It's by the Palestinian artist Reem Banna (ريم بنّا) and was written by the poet Tawfiq Zayyad who was a Palestinian politician and member of the Israeli Knesset. His poetry draws on popular folklore but he always wrote for political purposes.

Here is the song, and I've written a translation alongside the words below:

يا جمال من الفنانة ريم بنا

عذب الجمال قلبي 
عندما اختار الرحيل 
The camel driver made my heart miserable//when he decided to leave

قلت يا جمال صبرا 
قال كل الصبر عيل 
I said: “o camel driver, be patient”//He said: “my patience has dried up”

قلت يا جمال قصدك 
قال صحراء الجنوب 
I said: “o camel driver, where are you going?”//He said: “the southern desert”

قلت ماذا ضم حملك 
قال  علكاً وطيوب 
I said: “what is in your load?”// He said: “gum and essences”

قلت ما دا
ؤك قلي 
قال شوق الحبيب 
I said: “what is your affliction?”//He said: “a longing for the one I love”

قلت هل زرت طبيبا 
قال تسعين طبيبا 
I said: “Have you visited a doctor?”//He said: “ninety doctors”

قلت يا جمال خذني 
قال لا حملي ثقيل 
I said: “o camel driver, take me with you”//He said: “no, my load is [too] heavy”

قلت يا جمال أمشي 
قال لا دربي طويل 
I said: “I will walk!”//He said: “no, my journey is far”

قلت أمشي ألف عام 
خلف عينيك أسافر 
I said: “I will walk a thousand years//behind your eyes I will travel

قال يا طير الحمام 
حنظل عيش المهاجر 
He said: “o little pigeon//bitter is the life of a migrant”

عذب الجمال قلبي 
حينما اختار الرحيل 
The camel driver made my heart miserable//when he decided to leave

كلما خلف دمعا 
فوق خدي يسيل                                                                                                                                All he left behind were tears//that flow over my cheeks 
note: a حنظل is a bitter fruit

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