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

Salma, Ya Salama
(Safety, Safety)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to Dalida's version of the song "Salma, Ya Salama" with Arabic lyrics. Also included is a transliteration of the Arabic lyrics into the Roman alphabet so you can sing along if you like.

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

About this Song

The roots of this song go back to 1919, in Egypt. Legendary composer Sayyed Darwish wrote it for a play titled Qulu Lu. According to the book Acting Egyptian: Theater, Identity, and Political Culture in Cairo, 1869–1930 by Carmen M. K. Gitre:

"Salma Ya Salama" celebrated the return of men recruited for the Egyptian Labor Corps. These were Egyptian civilians whom the British conscripted in numerous, often brutal, ways.... One third of Egyptian men between the ages of seventeen and thirty-five either volunteered or were forced to participate in the Egyptian Labor Corps. They laid railway lines, dug trenches, and performed other menial labor for miniscule pay. A report to the British government stated that Egyptian laborers "died like flies due to the ill treatment that they received".

The term often used to refer to the forced labor was "le corvée," which in French means "the drudge work". The term initially arose in Egypt during the era of Mohamed Ali Pasha (early 1800's), and the British continued using it.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: The photo shows Sayyed Darwish, the composer of the 1919 original version of this song.

About Dalida

In 1977, Dalida created her own version of this song, keeping the chorus section, but working with composer Jeff Barnel (stage name for Georges Habib Barnoti) to add musical segments for the verses. She released two versions: one in Egyptian Arabic, and the other in French. Dalida was born in Shobra, Egypt in 1933 to Italian parents.

She was crowned Miss Egypt in 1954. In 1955, she appeared in the Egyptian motion picture Sigarah wa Kas (A Glass and a Cigarette) which also starred Samia Gamal. However, Egypt's post-revolution climate was not hospitable to people who were not ethnic Egyptians, so Dalida left Egypt and spent most of her adult life in France, where she reached stardom as a singer. Tragically, in 1987 she died by suicide.

Music: Original chorus by Sayyed Darwish; verses composed by Jeff Barnel

 

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Lyrics

Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes that appear at the bottom of the translation.

Arabic Lyrics

English Translation

Fi el-donia el kebira In the big world
We beladha el ketira and the many countries
Laffeit laffeit laffeit I traveled, traveled, traveled.
Wi lamma nadani hobbi el awalani And when my first love called me,
Sibt kollo we geit we geit I left everything and came,
We fi hodno itramait and I threw myself in his lap,
We ghaneit and sang:
   

Chorus

Chorus

Salma ya salama Farewell, farewell, (1)
Rohna we Geina bel-salama we went and got back safely.
Salma ya salama Farewell, farewell, (1)
Rohna we Geina bel-salama we went and got back safely.
   
Lessa el-hob safi Love still pure,
We lessa el-guaw dafi and the feelings [between us] still,
We lessa fih amar and moon still here.
We ba'd el-maghareb And after the evening
Netlamleim fi areb we came close to each other,
We yetoul es-sahar es-sahar and we stayed awake, awake,
We es-samar wel ghona koleina and we sang all together:
   

Chorus

Chorus

Salma ya salama Farewell, farewell, (1)
Rohna we Geina bel-salama we went and got back safely.
Salma ya salama Farewell, farewell, (1)
Rohna we Geina bel-salama we went and got back safely.
   
Fih shagara goua There's a marked tree inside a garden,
Guineina 'aliha 'alama it is within us, and there is a mark on it.
Ana yamma kont bafakkar fiha I've always thought of it,
We basaal yama and I pray a lot.
Ya tara mawgouda I wonder, is it there?
We albi mahfour fiha And my heart is engraved on it.
Aiwa mawgouda Yes, it is there!
We albi mahfour fiha And my heart is engraved on it.
   

Chorus

Chorus

Salma ya salama Farewell, farewell, (1)
Rohna we Geina bel-salama we went and got back safely.
Salma ya salama Farewell, farewell, (1)
Rohna we Geina bel-salama we went and got back safely.
  1. "Salama" means "safety", but in the context of the song it's a way of saying "Farewell!" In other words, "Be safe".

 

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Related Translations

These are translations of other versions of Salma, Ya Salama.

  • Fotia. A version of the song with Greek lyrics sung by Hrispa.
  • Pali Berdeftika. A version of the song with Greek lyrics sung by Marinella.
  • Salma, Ya Salama. A version of the song with Greek lyrics sung by Vicky Mosholiou.
  • Salma, Ya Salama. A version of the song with Greek lyrics sung by Giota Lydia.
  • Salma, Ya Salama. A version of the song with Greek lyrics sung by Ziynet Sali.

 

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