Must-Know Belly Dance Song: “Habeena Habeena”
Who, What and When?
“Habeena Habeena” was written and performed by Farid al-Atrash, one of the greats of Arabic music known as the “King of the Oud.” This song appeared in the film “Nagham Fi Hayati” which was released in 1975 and was the last film he made.
What is this song about?
“Habeena” means “love us”, however it implies “love me”. In Arabic songs, direct address to women is often hidden behind the use of “he” or “us” to make it less personal. The song is about a unrequited love. Here is a sample of the lyrics:
We (I) fell in love, we fell, and on the path of love we got lost
And how many times we suffered, how many, many times we suffered
And how many times we walked behind you
Love us, love us, we loved you so love us back
Find the full lyric translation here.
Although the subject isn’t exactly “happy”, I would still consider it suitable for most performances. Many versions are rather upbeat and the verses have fun a phrasing structure and accents for dance. I really enjoy this one! You can get a better sense of the mood of the song by watching the clip below.
You can watch the original version from the movie – complete with a 70’s-tastic backyard barbeque dance scene here!
This video does not allow embedding – WATCH HERE
“Habeena” starts at 22:20