Ala Baladi Mahboub – The Oum Kalthoum Project
Title in Arabic: على بلد المحبوب
Title in English: Take me to the country of my beloved
Composer: Riad Al-Sonbati
Lyrics: Ahmad Ramy
Ahmad Ramy, a young poet and translator, met Oum Kalthoum in 1924, and was fascinated by her voice. The first poem he wrote for her, was her first recording. He continued to write a vast number of poems for her – different sources estimate the number to be somewhere between 140 and 200! Some sources say that Ramy become Oum Kalthoum’s mentor in literature, some say that there was more behind the relationship than that. There is even a book written about the relationship between the two – “I loved you for your voice” by Selim Nassib.
I could not find any info about the song itself, however, I came across one fun fact: there is a famous blind singer in Malaysia who is nicknamed Alabaladi, because he sang the song at a competition in 1981 and won. As for the lyrics of the song, they speak of longing, not only for a lover but also for Egypt. Some examples of lyric translations are here and here.
The song does not seem to be very used by dancers (however there are beautiful musical renditions of it on YouTube, I recommend you to look around!), but I did find a few clips.
Andrea (the song starts at 2:50)
Back to the main page of The Oum Kalthoum Project
Sources used: - Adams, L. Egyptian Idol. The New York Times. - Ahmed Ramy. Wikipedia - Amina and the Aswan Dancers Share Their Songs. The Aswan Dancers. - Jaafar, S. A blind man with a melodious voice. Asia One News. - Musician Hero: Umm Kulthum. The My Hero Project. - Oum Kalthoum songs. Al Mashriq. - Oum Kalthoum - To the Country of My Sweetheart. Music Layoonak: Arabic Song Lyrics and Translations.