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

El Bulbul Nagha
(The Nightingale)


This page contains a translation into English of the song lyrics to the song "El Bulbul', which is sometimes written as "Al Boulbol Nagha". This is a muwashaha which was performed by Sabeh Fakhri, from Haleb, Syria.

Maqam: Heyjaz
Rhythm: Maqsoum (Masmoudi Saghir)



Listen to MP3 Clips of this Song


Sung by Sabah Fakhri



Arabic Lyrics

English Translation



Wel-bulbul nagha 'a (la) ghusn el-foll The nightingale sang on the stem of the double jasmine
Ah ya sha'i'an-nu'mani (2 times) O anemones (2 times)
Asdi ala'i mahbubi (2 times) I intend to find my beloved (2 times)
Beyn el-yasmin wer-rehani ya eni beyn Between the jasmine and the basil

Verse 1:

Verse 1:

Albi tlawwa ya wa'di My heart fell sick, what a broken promise
Baddi tabibi ye dawini I need a doctor to cure me
Albi tlawwa ya wa'di My heart fell sick, what a broken promise
Baddi tabibi ye dawini I need a doctor to cure me
Dawat tabib ma yenfa'nish No, a doctor is of no use to me
Boset habibi teshfini ya eni. The kiss of my beloved can cure me.

Verse 2:

Verse 2:

Ejash-shahat ala bab ed-dar The beggar came to the door
Aletlol-helwa ala Allah (2 times) The beautiful one said God gives (2 times)
W-Allah ana mani shahhat But by God I am no beggar
E'tini bose dakhil Allah ya eni Please by God give me a kiss.

Verse 3:

Verse 3:

Konna setta alan-nab'a There were six of us by the water source
Ejal-mahbub serna sab'a (2 times) With the beloved we became seven (2 times)
We talab bose ma ataytoh She asked for a kiss, I did not give
Oltello haram yom ej-jom'a ya eni I said it is a sin on Friday



Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Beiteddine Festival Volume 1 Album Cover


Listen to Clip

Artist: Sabah Fakhri
CD Title: Beiteddine Festival, Volume 1 (appears in medley of track 4)

Cover for the CD Sabah Fakhry 1

Artist: Sabah Fakhri
CD Title: Sabah Fakhry 1



Translations of
Sabah Fakhri's Songs on this Site



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.



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 .

Dr. George Sawa




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