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Etmakhtari Ya Helwa Ya Zena
(Walk With A Graceful Swinging Gait,
O Beautiful, O Pretty One)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the song lyrics to the song "Etmakhtari Ya Helwa Ya Zena".

Rhythm: Iqa Zaffa, which is in 8/4

 

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Lyrics

Arabic Lyrics

English Translation

Chorus:

Chorus:

Etmakhtari Walk with a graceful swinging gait,
Ya helwa ya zena O beautiful, O pretty one
Ya warda men gowwa gnena O flower inside a garden
Ya ud oronfel ya arusa O bride, you are a carnation stem and flower
El ward dallel alena The flowers give us shade in our procession
   

Verse 1:

Verse 1:

Esh sham 'ayed hawaleki The candles are lit all around you
Wes-sehr bayen fi eneki Your eyes have magic and charm
En el-hasud ma lehash fiki The evil eye is unable to reach you and do you harm
Etmakhtari w mili alena Walk with a graceful swigning gait and lean over us
   

Verse 2:

Verse 2:

Etmakhtari b-helwe awamek Walk your beautiful body with a graceful swinging gait
Arisek el-kheffa d-dahek Your lighthearted and smiling bridegroom
Aref ghalawtek we ma'amek Knows your worth and status
Ya badr nawwar hawalena O full moon shine over us.
   

Verse 3:

Verse 3:

El ward elahmar fe khdud The red flowers that are part of your cheeks
Fattah we nawwar ala udek Have opened up and illuminated your body
Wel-lela dih ketti hasudek Tonight you have made those envious of you even more jealous
Ya helwa tefdi be-enena O beautiful, we shall sacrifice even our eyes for your sake.

 

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About the Contributor

This translation was done by Dr. George Sawa for Yasmina Ramzy of Arabesque Academy of Toronto, Canada. I'd like to thank Yasmina for making this translation available to you via my web site.

Yasmina Ramzy has been performing, teaching, and choreographing Middle Eastern dance since 1981. She has toured extensively throughout Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Greece, England, Mexico, the United States, and Canada as a soloist and with her company, sometimes performing for royalty and heads of state in many of these countries. She is the Artistic Director of Arabesque Academy, School of Culture-Specific Dance and the Arabesque Dance Company. Although Yasmina has dedicated her life to Middle Eastern dance, she also produces Gypsy and Dancenet which are culture-specific dance and music events with an educational slant. She is also a member of Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists and serves of the board of directors for Dance Ontario.

 

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About the Translator

Dr. George Sawa was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He has over 50 years of experience in Arabic music performance, history and theory, and has performed and lectured extensively worldwide: Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Europe (Spain, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Greece) and the Middle East (Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates). He studied qanun, theory and voice at the Higher Institute of Arabic Music.

After immigrating to Canada, Dr. Sawa studied ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto, and obtained his doctorate in historical Arabic musicology. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on medieval, modern, and religious music of the Middle East at the University of Toronto and at York University.

Dr. Sawa is the author of:

  • Music Performance Practice in the Early Abbasid Era. 132-320 AH/750-932 AD
  • Rhythmic Theories and Practices in Arabic Writings to 339AH/950 CE (Ottawa: The Institute of Mediaeval Music, 2004 and 2009)
  • An Arabic Musical and Socio-Cultural Glossary of Kitab al-Aghani (The Book of Songs) of al-Isbahani (d. 971) (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2015).
  • Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers

Dr. Sawa has published over 50 articles on Arabic music in refereed journals and encyclopedias, and is frequently invited to give lectures and concerts worldwide. In 2005, he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture for his research in Arabic music history.

George Sawa

George has been the musical director for several productions of the Toronto-based Arabesque Dance Company, and taught hundreds of dancers at the Arabesque Academy and Hannan's Bellydance Studio in Toronto, as well as studios in Canada, USA, Brazil and Mexico. His first CD release, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 1, was nominated for a JUNO Award in World Music in 2009. A subsequent volume, The Art of the Early Egyptian Qanun, Vol. 2, was released in 2009.

His book Egyptian Music Appreciation and Practice for Bellydancers has won international acclaim and serves as an invaluable - one of a kind - companion to bellydancers all over the world. (It is available in English, Chinese, French, Greek, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, German and Portuguese). A companion set of two DVDs produced with Lulu Hartenbach in Brazil includes over 50 tracks of dancing instruction from his CDs and book: Lulu and George Dimitri Sawa. Apreciação de Música Árabe para Bailarinas - Teoria & Prática 2 vols. Sao Paulo: Ventreoteca. Produzido por Kaleidoscopio de Ideias. Shimmie, 2015.

Presently Dr. Sawa is working on a book Erotica, Love, and Humor in Arabia which will be published by McFarland in 2016.

For more information on Dr. Sawa's books, musical recordings, and videos, see his web site at www.georgedimitrisawa.com .

Dr. George Sawa

 

 

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