Must-Know Song for Belly Dance: “Tamra Henna”

We continue onto song #9 from the “Must-Know Songs for Belly Dance” list.

Who, What and When?

The song “Tamr Henna” was composed by Mohammed Fawzi for the movie of the same name which was released in 1957. The title song is the most-well known scene from the movie, and one of the most-loved songs among bellydance classics too!

What is this song about?

“Tamr Henna” is usually translated as “henna flower”. The song itself does not have much in the way of lyrics. There is one verse during the fast passage about two-thirds the way into the song. This verse is about the beauty of the henna flower, and we assume the young woman portrayed by Naima Akef.

Fruit of the henna
These are the secrets
The flower of the country
I am jealous of you
The white jasmine wandering
And the red flower
The fire is melted in it
The heart going insane
Is sending a signal

This translation was found in this discussion on Bhuz.

Curiously, the word “tamr henna” is also is used for tamarind fruit. As noted in the video description in the link below by The CaroVan: “Tamar hinna, tamra henna or tamerhinna is the name here for tamarind. The words ‘tamer hina’ mean literally ‘Indian date’. Supermarkets sell tamarind by the box full. The fruit is sweet and you can eat it straight from the box. There are huge seeds/pips though.”

Musically this song has a lively melody, interesting phrasing and really fun rhythmic accents which make it one of the most fun songs to play zills to!  It’s no wonder it has been a favorite of dancers for decades. If you want something with an upbeat, vintage feel, this song is a perfect pick. You can find my favorite version for performance here.

The Original Version…

Here is Naima Akef performing to “Tamr Henna” in the original movie here.

TamrHenna video

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