Below are some Old Style Shaabi singers and their songs - Some songs are complete; others may just be words and give the general jist. I will add and improve on these translations every now and then, so please continue to visit this page.These songs and singers were active from the late sixties until the early 2000's. They paved the way for the New Style Shaabi songs. Some of the below  songs may belong to the new style and soon I will create a New Style Shaabi page.

Shaabi music and all its permutations deserves as much respect and recognition in Egyptian musical history and culture as Tarab. To me, it is also a genre of Tarab.  It is the music of the people - the popular masses - especially the youth in the urban areas. In Cairo alone, including its satellite cities, there are today, 2018, over 20,000,000+ people. Around 75% of them (15,000,000) are under the age of 25. The population growth (and youth explosion) seems to be an indicator of how rapidly the Shaabi music - the youth music - has changed and evolved. From 5 million plus  people in 1970 to over 20 million in 2018 is a huge jump. The music and how quickly it evolves in style is just one mark of this change. Please check my page on Shaabi Music and History to further understand this genre and learn about its traditions and how it is evolving. This changing and sometimes innovative Shaabi music tells the story of Egypt while keeping its heritage and traditions alive.

  Abdel Basit Hamouda    This wedding singer was the first to make live recordings and sell the cassettes. Active in cassette form since 1985 or slightly before.

Abdel Basit Hamouda

This wedding singer was the first to make live recordings and sell the cassettes. Active in cassette form since 1985 or slightly before.

Ana Mush Arefni by Abdel Basit Hamouda

From the movie al farah - most of the cast and the singers are Shaabi and not necessarily actors. In this case art imitates life. "Under the pretense of having a wedding, Zaynhom is planning to collect "el nu'taa" (the money) from everyone in his shaabi neighborhood so he can buy a bus and start a new business. He uses his mother's only savings to finance the wedding, hoping for a big return, as is the custom at such events. Through the setting of a common neighborhood and the wedding, this movie explores many different issues in Egyptian society, from wedding customs, religious extremism, drugs, and crime, to the impact of the financial crisis on ordinary people. The many characters display tradition, contradiction, and the paradox of daily life." -Description from maqam.com

ANA MUSH AREFNI translated by Amina Goodyear and Sharif Soleiman

I feel this is the song of the revolution. 

ana mush arefni
I don't know myself
ana kunti min
I could have been something (I had hopes)
ana mush ana
I'm not myself
la dee malameHa
This is not my features
we la shakly shakly
And my face is not my face
we la da ...ana
And this is not me
abuS li roHi faga - la-etni
I look to my soul suddenly - I found myself
la-et kabert faga h-kabert
Suddenly I found myself old - old
ta'abet min al mufagah we nezlet dama'eti
I got tired from the surprise and my tears came down
oolili eh ya maraet
Tell me what, oh my mirror
tkunshi
I couldn't be that
tekunshi dee nehaitee
Could this be my end (I couldn't be that)
we akheri 'eseti
could this be the end of my story
ya duny tafity ya shamaa
Oh world, you have put out my candle
ya nass katartua damae katarti
People,you've made more tears (cry more)
wel, aamri raH hadra
And the life went to waste (roar)
katabtil ah balemy
I wrote about it with my pen
kassartu see 'alemy
You (all) broke my pen (lead of the pencil)
we bardu be'ool 'adra
And still I'm saying fate
Hazeen min soghri senee
I'm sad from my youthful years
al-a ya aini
And who is going to care (my eyes) )(whose fault is it?)
we wekadhani al khatawi
And the sins took me
la sikh tayahat mini
To a way that's lost for me (that wil always make me lost)
ya leil al gerHily
Hey night, hey wound, you who is with me
maaya zai Deli
Like my shadow
ma ansa weHdety
And I can't forget my loneliness
sar'atil 'amar kulu
you have stolen all my life (years)
khalaS ma be'ash faDalee
That's it, there is nothing left remaining (left for me)
gheir gehHy we damaeti
Except for my wounds and my tears
gereyH we da mesh beyedi
Wounded and out of my control (this is not my hand)
makhadtesh bes bade
I didn't take my share
zeraat ya nass 'eewdee
I planted (oh people) my shackles
ganeit al showk le waHdi
And thorns came out alone (and I harvested the thorns alone)

 

Ya Basha by Abdel Basit Hamouda

A Shaabi political statement that is countered by Egypt's last living pharoah.

YA BASHA (words and loose translation by Amina Goodyear and Sharif Soleiman)


ya basha, ya kabtan (can be a respectful term of endearment to a peer)

ahu dah, hua dah
This is it, he's the one You're beautiful (strawberry), ya basha
It looks like ya basha
Ask who's the better looking one - jealous of him
All the girls are beautiful, one my Habibi and oh my aini (eye, loved one)
I've never seen that you have...
With my hands on my cheek (eid alaHat) I'm waiting the whole day (kulilinaHar)
Ya akhuya, ya aami ya khali
oh brother, oh uncle on mother's side, oh uncle on father's side
I wait for him to return
and cross the street so I can see him again
he's the light - from his beauty
oh so very beautiful, you're delicious, oh my soul
you're like a honey molasses stick (like a sucker)
so so cute
In the morning I see his beauty with its greatness
and the ground shakes from him and from its beauty
oh so beautiful oh so succulent.

  Ahmed Adaweya

Ahmed Adaweya

The self-proclaimed king of the mawaweel. Leading a tough life is what gave him the emotions and feelings to create his music.
Here is Amina's Ahmed Adaweya article on gildedserpent

ZaHma ya Dunya ZaHma by Ahmed Adaweya translatedby Debbie Smith

zaHma ya dunya zaHma
crowded, the world is crowded
zaHma w tahou al Habayeb
crowded, and the lovers are lost
zaHma wala aadshi raHma
crowded, and mercy never comes
moulid w saHbou ghayeb
a moulid (prophet or saint's day festival) without a leader
agy min hena (zaHma), arouH hena (zaHma), hena aw hena
I come from here, I go there, here and there
zaHma ya dunya zaHma
crowded, the world is crowded
zahma w ana rayaHlou
crowded and I am going to her
w ana fi wust al zaHaam
and I am in the midst of the crowd
aayez yesmaa wa 'olou
she wants to hear me and I tell her
ma byewsalshi el kalaam
but the words don't reach her (arrive)
wa bayni wa baynou maaaad
and we have an appointment with each other
wa HayrouH el maaaad
we're going to miss our appointment
agy min hena (zaHma), arouH hena (zaHma), hena aw hena (zaHma)
I come from here, I go there, here and there
zaHma w maataani
crowded, and it's cutting me off
wa inn roHti w mala'etoush
and if you go and do not find him there
akhaf arouHlo tani
I'll be scared to go to her again
fi maaadi, ma'el'ahoush
on time for my appointment and not find her there
tseer el nass kteer
the people will become so many
wa ana aayez arkab wa aTeer
and I'll want to ride and fly

Kulu aala Kulu by Ahmed Adaweya translated by Amina Goodyear and Sharif Soleiman
Topsy Turvy – Everything on top of everything


lama shufu aala
When you see him, tell him
we hua fakirna eh
What does he think we are, does he look down on us?
mish malyeen ainak eh
We don’t fill your eyes, we’re not good enough for you?
ruh ‘ul hassad eh
Go tell him what happened
marra wela barra meen
Whenever an done time and who is outside
law il da hilhabat arefna meen
And if the door is making knocking noises we’ll know who it is
da ha maalimeen
After all, we’re bosses and we know what’s up, we’re no chumps
alby hua mish masra li tamseelak
My heart , it is not a stage for your acting

You can’t play with me. I’m not a nobody.
We know what’s up

Sittu bes Basbousa by Ahmed Adeweya translated by Shadia Mohtady

situ bas bisittloo basbousa
bi samen we sokar wel asal
asel we kaseb ya hosa Atel we nayem fil asal
we situ bas Ba situ basB
situ bas Ba situ bas Busa bi saamen
we sokar wel asal - Setu
His grandmother looked up to whip up a basbousa
Made with butter, sugar & honey. 
we setum bas bisalu We mamam sa seyalu
setum bas bisalu
a wel mamtu sa eeyalu
nayem wala ala baluu ala
ayeza ishtagal

While his grandmother is feeding him Basbousa, 
His mom is quenching his thirst. 
And all he wants to do is sleep and not look for work. 
ingigha ya nunun ingigha
ya arda hal bidamgha
afaddee wala sabgha
trouh lau tingha sal ah ah ah

He's so spoiled he can only baby talk. 
Is he a gentleman or does he have a dye on him
Maybe if we wash him we'll find out. 
khulasa wemush khulasa
we selah menu gharu sasa
la fellah fi derasa
walai yeseel fi aamal

Purity at its best. 
And all you can get is a bullet. 
He's not good in school or any job.
Basically he's just a bum
Who eats basbousa.

Meet Foll by Ahmed Adaweya translated by Shadia Mohtady

meet foll - foll we ashra
One hundred jasmine and ten
yalli - gamalak nashra
Your beauty is captivating and spreading
law aaool we aaeed --we aaeed we azeed
If I say and repeat again and again
ma ikaffi lebokra ...nashra..nashra..nashra
It is not enough for tomorrow...Talk and news
gamalak da yamalak nashra...Gamalak meet foll we ashra
Your beauty is captivating...Your beauty is one hundred jasmine and ten
shawerli..we ashar..
Flag and wave to me
we en la'etny bafakkar
If you found me thinking
matshawerli..we ashar
Flag and wave to me
we en la'etny bafakkar
If you found me thinking
yeba alak elkalam.. 
So you can talk
we ana addt elmaam
And I'm the same scale
ya tamam eltamam...Ya tamam eltamam
Ya ain.. ya ain.. ya ain.. Ya leila leila ya leil.. ya leil..ya leil
ana ana alby engarah 
My heart was broken
min ghear habeeb yaaweeny 
With no lover to treat me
ana garrabt kolli dawa
I try every medicine
ma la'aitih fayda feeh
It didn't treat me
alooly we aish dakhalak bait adwak
They said to me why you entered your enemy's house
olti habibi...feeh
I said my lover is inside
alooli we aish dakhalak bait adewak 
They said to me why you entered your enemy's house
olti habibi feeh
I said my lover is inside
ya amar maktsob eamel ma'aroof
You are shy oh moon - do me a favor
da howak.. wel nabi laih ana mawsoof
Your love is my features
we ana addt elmaamYa tamam eltamam...Ya tamam eltamam Meet foll ya foll . .. 
And I'm the same scale
ya tamam eltamam...Ya tamam eltamam
Ya ain.. ya ain.. ya ain..
meet foll ya foll . .. 
One hundred jasmine
ya remoosh we aouyooni
You are eyelashes and eyes
betssoon matikoon
Protect me
a'a ya agmal leila
You are the most beautiful, Leila
we ana elmagnoon
And I'm the crazy

Salametha Om Hassan by Ahmed Adaweya translated lyrics—not literal—by Nicole Ibrahim.

Salametha Om Hassan 
God bless her, Hassan’s mother

Meil ein wei meil Hassad
From the eye and from envy

Wei salamtak ya Hassan
And God bless you oh Hassan

Meil reimsheilee hassad
From the lash that envied you

Galha tooreilee mash 
The passing bull came to her

Weil toor ma nayeimhash
And the bull didn’t put her to sleep

Weil ein ma saybahash 
And the eye is not leaving her alone

Mahsouda om Hassan
Someone envied Hassan’s mother

Malbouja leh malboug 
Why is she so preoccupied

Meil feikr galha doj 
From so much thinking she got sick

Hara eit shaba wei fasouja
She burned incense and a pickle fish

Ma ra eitch om Hassan
She didn’t recover, Hassan’s mother

Amaloulha zar latish ha
They made a zar too powerful for her, It
seemed too strong for her

Wei kaeino eiyar da washa
Too bad, no one rescued her, She has got her excuse, Hassan’s mother

Gara eh yamo Hassan
What’s happening Hassan’s mother

Laimeeha weijgalee 
Behave and get your act together

La toor wala zar beiyenfa-a
Not a bull nor a zar is working out

Matfouee wei teia alee 
Wake up and be wise

  Hakim

Hakim

 

Although he did not come from a Shaabi background, he found his inspiration on Mohamed Ali Street.

Efred by Hakim translated by Debbie Smith


ah yani mennak ah yani
oh how much you made me suffer
beteshtiki leh wa enta al gani
why do you complain if you're the convict (when you are guilty)
efred masalan, masalan yani inni khasemtak youm
suppose, for instance, for instance that I ignored you one day
manta taaebni wa mghalebni wa mnasini ennoum
for you're the one who tires me, defeat me, and makes me forget about sleep
bakht fi hobbak mal
loving you is my bad luck
layli baadak Tal
your absence lengthens my night
hess biya, danta liya kull hagga
feel me, you're everything to me
leh beaendak leh tedhayaa kull hagga
why are you willing to lose (do you make everything lost) by your stubbornness
efred masalan masalan yani inni khasemtak youm
suppose, for instance, for instance that I ignored you one day
manta taaebni wa mghalebni wa mnasini ennoum
for you're the one who tires me, defeat me, and makes me forget about sleep
al kkalam yegeeb kalam
talk brings on talk
wal aazool yaamil hekaya
and the nosey person (begrudger) makes a story of nothing
la haram da al gharam
what a pity, passion
tah maaak waHtar maaaya
passion has lost it with you and become confused with me
bansa ayya kilma marra ouitehali
I (will) forget every word you've told me
wa inta bardo ayya kilma aadihali
and I know that you will let my words pass
efred masalan, masalan yani inni khasemtak youm
suppose, for instance, for instance that I ignored you one day
manta taaebni wa mghalebni wa mnasini ennoum
for you're the one who tires me, defeat me, and makes me forget about sleep
enta ya mat'oli yah
hey you, what's the end of my suffering
aa'li tah 'albi tah
my mind (reason) was lost, my heart was lost
wa enta mish aamel hesabi
and you don't even take me into account
bel mahabba habba habba eshterini
you'll get to me (buy me) little by little with love
da enta bardo law teaaozni hatla'ini
and you'll find me if you need me
efred masalan, masalan yani inni khasemtak youm
suppose, for instance, for instance that I ignored you one day
manta taaebni wa mghalebni wa mnasini ennoum
for you're the one who tires me, defeat me, and makes me forget about sleep

Nar by Hakim translated by Amina Goodyear and Sharif Soleiman
fire

My heart is full of fire.
Come on, Habibi, I've become doubtful
I'll never do it again, life in fire.
I loved him
And I loved him
And I needed him
And I took him places
Made me crazy
And I'm crazy
He made me cry
And he didn't come to me
My address got lost from him
I'm running away - the fire's over
After all, we're bosses and we know what's up, we're no chumps
My heart, it is not a stage for your acting.

  Hasan Al Asmar  (1959-2011) b. Qena, Egypt

Hasan Al Asmar (1959-2011) b. Qena, Egypt

His mawal would make babies cry. When I ask my Egyptian friends what they think of Shaabi music and singers, they inevitably sing Ahmed Adaweya's Zahma ya Dunya Zahma and Hasan Al Asmar's song Kitab Hayati ya Ain. Enjoy.

Kitab Hayati ya Ain by Hasan al Asmar translated by Chris


kitab Hayati ya ain ma shufta zay we kitab
the book of my life (story) there is no book such as mine
el farhi fih satrin wel baa kollou azab
its papers are grief and tragedy and its ink is made of my tears
el hebri men damaae
its ink is made of my tears
a sad book full of tragedies
he betrayed in teh past, he's a betrayer and cruel
el farh satir ghalat maktoob
when the past were forgetting, were forgetting one day
kitab ezzaman gowwah hammi
without having pity on me
hayaeesh hazin we ysebha hazin
and he took my tears and blood for granted
the page of the age melted
men eddemooa lama aaritha
I underestimated the world before
we men zaman menni khadtaha menni khadtaha
the cheek of the doctor became a habit
we men aiayda li aiyada
everyone that I went to says
ataat albe biziyada ah beziyda
instead of going to the doctor I went to "miyya" 
(an ignorant woman treats with herbs)
we khadt kolle el adwiya
everyone said about my hurts
makhatehoosh fel kolliya ya ainaya
oh my world give me a lot
mayhemmikish aeblet Hayati
I got used to the sadness from the beginning
we damaa fi ayooni lilati ya Hayati
the doctor comes to me so I tell him the story
yaool salamtak adailoo
and when I ask him what's wrong with him
yekhabi demooaoo fi mandiloo aah badailoo
suffering and grieves and little by little
wadi nihayet el hadoota
with the tears of my eyes and my sadness
eddonya radhiya we mabsoota aah mabsoota

touba (translated by Amina Goodyear and Sharif Soleiman)


touba - never again
Missing you got me so tired
got me caught up in a vortex, whirlpool
halawa - that beauty
sha-awa - mischievous
never hurt me again
I give my heart, my life, my passion
to find her
forgetting is hard (tough) on me
nassi assi - forgotten how tough she is

Ana Ho by Hasan al Asmar translated by Amina Goodyear and Sharif Soleiman

ana ho
Here I am
ana ho wenta ho
Here I am, There you are
we izaman aho wenta ho
I showed you a good time (I took care of you)
amal haley tak hilaly
I made you my crescent – I respected you, 
en mak alem ta di’ali
Why did you lead me on
ima sahartak layali
I showed you a good time and I had you up at night
tafeit bei eideik shumnaee
Put out the fire with your hands (your candle)
Omri da alby da maak ra wayak
I spend my life to you, my heart was lost with you