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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

El Bango
(Marijuana)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the shaabi song "El Bango", which was sung by Shaa’baan Abdul Riheem. Also included is a transliteration of the Arabic lyrics into the Roman alphabet so you can sing along if you like.

The singer's name is sometimes spelled as "Shaban Abdel Raheem", "Sha3ban Abd El Rehim", or "Shabaan Abd El Rahim". He is often referred to as Shaabola.

Shaban Abdel Rahim comes from shaabi culture himself, formerly working as a makwagi (man who irons clothes). His music is immensely popular with the lower classes of Egyptian society, such as the people who drive the mini-buses. He is notorious for his outrageous lyrics, having sung about Barack Obama, Michael Jackson, his hatred for Israel, the gap between classes in society, pollution of the Nile, the crash of the EgyptAir flight several years ago, and other provocative topics. He has appeared in a number of movies, some of which were banned by the censors.

This song is about bango (Egyptian marijuana). The song is addressed to Egyptians at large, telling of the dangers of it. In an interview with Nus Al-Dunya, Shaaban admitted that though one of his songs criticizes bango, he sometimes smokes hashish when offered.

Song lyrics are provided for educational purposes. If you like the song, please purchase either the album or a download from an authorized source.

Lyrics: Islam Khalil

 

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Lyrics

Arabic Lyrics

English Translation

Yaah. Ya lail.

Ohhh. Oh night.
   
Ismaa’ minni iw-shouf hasal eiyh. Listen to me and see what has happened.
Leih iltaba’i itghayyar laiyh. Why did the mood change? Why?
Ninsa hayatna iw-ninsa a’azabna. We forget our life, and our sufferings.
Iw-ninsa illi itrabbaina a’alaih. And we forget things that we were brought up to believe in.
Iw-a’alaih, iw-a’alaih, iw-a’alaih? And why? and why? and why?
   
Ismaa’ minni iw-shouf hasal eiyh. Listen to me and see what has happened.
Leih iltaba’i itghayyar laiyh. Why did the mood change? Why?
Ninsa hayatna iw-ninsa a’azabna. We forget our life, and our sufferings.
Iw-ninsa illi itrabbaina a’alaih. And we forget things that we were brought up to believe in.
Iw-a’alaih, iw-a’alaih, iw-a’alaih? And why? and why? and why?
   
Rahait khalaas ayyami El Sit, iw-ba-eiyna ib-a’asr el-internet. The days of Oum Kalthoum [legendary Egyptian singer often referred to "El Sitt" which means "the grandmother"] are gone and we are living in the Internet era.
Rahait khalaas ayyami El Sit, iw-ba-eiyna ib-a’asr el-internet. The days of Oum Kalthoum [legendary Egyptian singer often referred to "El Sitt" which means "the grandmother"] are gone and we are living in the Internet era.
   
Dilwaati norkous a’alwahda wi-ibnismaa’ Efred w-El-Tit. Now we dance [to the song] A’al Wahda wa-Noss and we listen to [the songs] "Efred" [by Hakim] and "El-Tit".
Ita’ibna min il-fanni ya Anna. Iw-mean aal kanna iw manna. O’ Anna, we got tired of the Art. And who said kanna wa manna?
Naas ti-ghanni el-harakeeri, iw-naas itghanni kaman nanna, nanna, nanna, nanna. Some people sing the harakeeri and others sing kaman nanna, nanna, nanna, nanna, nanna.
   
Maba-aash elmaghna khalaas heya. Iw-koulli youm meet oghniyyah. The songs are not the same and every day we hear a new song.
Maba-aash elmaghna khalaas heya. Iw-koulli youm meet oghniyyah. The songs are not the same and every day we hear a new song.
   
Khabt iw-haysah, iw-ayyi kalaam. Ilkoul iy-oulolak shababiyah, shababiyah, shababiyah, shababiyah. Hit, confusion and other nonsense. Everyone tells you it is the youthful thing, youthful thing, youthful thing, youthful thing.
Abdel Halim ya ma aal Mawa’oud, iw-fareed el-atrach malak el-a’oud. Abdel Halim [Hafez], repeatedly said Mawa'oud, and Farid al-Atrache the king of oud.
   
Dilwaati ba-eeina nismaa’ laylah. Iw-fidhyou iyliffow ia’younoh el-sood, w-il-sood, el-sood, el-sood. Now we are hearing songs and his black eyes are turning around, and his black eyes, and black, black, black.
Nahna if-a’asr elfadhaa-iyyah, iw-amar masr ismou Nil Saat. We are in the Satellite era and the Egyptian Satellite name is Nile-Sat.
Mish lak-yean lahni iymatia’na, wa-laa a’arfeen nismaa’ kalimaat, kalimaat, kalimaat, kalimaat. We are not finding a tune that satisfy us and we don’t know how to hear words, words, words, words.
   
Layali, adhwaaa wi-madinah, willi iysabahna iymasseena Nights, lights and a city and he who greets us in the morning, greets us in the evening.
Layali, adhwaaa wi-madinah, willi iysabahna iymasseena Nights, lights and a city and he who greets us in the morning, greets us in the evening.
   
Marrah nismaa’ a’an DeeDee. Iw-marrah nismaa’ Macarena, Macarena, Macarena, Macarena. Once we heard [the song] DeeDee. And another time we heard Macarena, Macarena, Macarena, Macarena.
We-koulli haga baeeina gharbi, mafeesh milaya wala asharbi, we-koulli youm moudhah igdeedah. Hatta elkalaam mabakaash a’arabi, a’arabi, a’arabi, a’arabi. In everything, we became Westerners. There is no melaya leff and not even a veil and every day there is a new fashion. Even language is no longer Arabic, Arabic, Arabic, Arabic.
   
Hatta elgharadh bey-aalidna. Even things are imitated.
Nasyeen a’adaatna iw-takaleedna. We forgot our habits and traditions.
Shabaab kiteer maashi wara elkaif, iw-naasi eih asli baladna, baladna, baladna, baladna. Many youth are using hallucinogenic drugs and forgetting the roots of our country, our country, our country, our country.
Ismaa’ minni ha-oul mawadheia’, ismaa’ni laou fia’lan sameea’. Listen to me, I am going to say many things. Listen to me if you really are a good listener.
Koulli youm nismaa’ akhbaar, win-shouf shabaab a’ammal bey-dheea’, bey-dheea’, bey-dheea’. Every day we hear news and see youth getting lost, getting lost, getting lost.
   
El-waad Gareeei, wil-waad Lango, dhaaa’ait hayat-houm fil bango. The guy Gareeei and the guy Lango, lost their  life in the bango [Egyptian-style marijuana].
Fil moustashfa khalaas tayheen, iw-ibyiriksou baladi iw-tango, tango, tango, tango. They are lost in the hospital, and they are dancing baladi and tango, tango, tango, tango.
El-waad Gareei ismouh imkhawakh, w-il-bango ghadaar bey-dawaikh. The guy Gareeei’s name is Peachi.
Iw-ibkilli hittah nirouh nilaeeih, dah zaad a’an elhabl iw-dawwaikh, dawwaikh, dawwakh. And the bango is not dependable and makes you dizzy, dizzy, dizzy.
   
Fee koulli sharaia’ aw-hittah, el bango a’amaloulow bakaittah In every street and quarter, they made the bango in boxes.
Fee koulli sharaia’ aw-hittah, el bango a’amaloulow bakaittah In every street and quarter, they made the bango in boxes.

We-kolli youm yedheia’ insaan, iw-oul kamaan khamsah iw-sittah, sittah, sittah, sittah.

And every day a person is lost and say more five or six, six, six, six.
El bango sheei aasi iw-kharaib. Mahoush hiwaya wi-tagaraib. Bango is very hard on your health and ruins you.
Mahoush hiwaya wi-tagaraib. It is not a habit and a trial thing.
Inseeybouh laih yiee-dhee a’alaina? Why do we let it ruin our lives?
Dah haga lazaim tit-haraib, tit-haraib, tit-haraib, tit-haraib. This is something should be fought, should be fought, should be fought, should be fought.
   
Ismaa’ minni iw-ghayrkou maleesh. Listen to me. I don’t have anyone, but you.
Abb imsafair, ommi mafeesh, yibaaa izzaay elwaad yita’allaim. Ahou bila’akli saheeh mafeesh, mafeesh, mafeesh. A father is out of the country. There is no mother, then how is the kid going to get an education? Thus, in the right mind it does not exist, it does not exist, it does not exist.
Laa ingileezi wa-la ourouppi wana bas-har aaa-koll bi-Brouppy. No English, nor European [language] and I spend my night and eat at Groppy [famous Cairo restaurant].
Laa ingileezi wa-la ourouppi wana bas-har aaa-koll bi-Brouppy. No English, nor European [language] and I spend my night and eat at Groppy [famous Cairo restaurant].
Tool a’omri doughri.  
Iw-min youmi ana baladi. All my life, I am straight and I have been baladi from the beginning.
W-il-shaa’bi dah hobbi, hobbi, hobbi, hobbi. And the people are my love, my love, my love, my love.
   
Aywah Pasha. Haadher. Haadher. A’ala tool. Brabo. Aywa ya haanem. Aywa, il-ostaaz a’omar a’hanna. Yes Pasha. Yes Sir. Yes Sir. Right away. Bravo. Yes Ma'am. Yes, Mr. Omar is here with us.
Ahlaan. You are welcome.
Brabo a’al jamaaa’ah. Rah khalaas. Bravo for the group. He went and it is finished.
Shokran, shokran, shokran. Shokran, shokran. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, thank you.

 

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About the Translator

More than 100 song translations that appear on this web site, including this one, were created by Dr. Tahseen Alkoudsi. Together with his wife Kathe, Tahseen owned an import business in Lawrence, Kansas known as Cartouche.

Dr. Alkoudsi's imports business was his second career. His first career was in the service of the United Nations. Born in Damascus, Syria, he came to the U.S. for his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics, and worked in San Francisco. He joined the United Nations in Yemen, and worked in Saudi Arabia. He then joined the UNESCO Regonal Office for Arab States. He visited most of the Arab States in the course of his work, responsible for introducing computer sciences into educational facilities. For a time, he was stationed in Cairo, Egypt. He retired from that work in 1995.

Sadly, Tahseen died on Sunday, October 15, 2006. See this link for his obituary.

To me, Tahseen was so much more than a contributor to my web site. Even though we lived far apart, I saw Tahseen and Kathe several times over the years. I always appreciated their warmth and generosity. I first "met" Tahseen online back in 1997 on the med-dance list on the Internet, where he periodically posted messages. I knew he was in Lawrence, Kansas, so when a business trip arose requiring me to travel to the Kansas City area, I emailed him to say I'd be in the neighborhood. He and Kathe came to Kansas City for an evening get-together at Tasso's restaurant, and they invited several local dancers to join us. I saw them on follow-up visits to Kansas City. They vended at Rakkasah for several years, and it was always a pleasure to greet them there in the anteroom off to the left of the main stage. I also enjoyed encountering them in Egypt at the Ahlan wa Sahlan festival.

Tahseen will be missed by many.

Tahseen Alkoudsi

 

 

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