Must-Know Songs for Belly Dancers: “Enta Omri”

September 1, 2014 1 Comment

We’re moving along to the second song in the Must-Know Song List….

Who, What and When?

“Enta Omri” is one of the most well-known and beloved songs of Oum Kalthoum’s repertoire for both Arab audiences and bellydancers alike. The title means “You Are My Life.” This gem of a song was composed in 1965 by Mohammed Abdel Wahab and has lyrics by Ahman Shafiq Kamel. What is really remarkable about this song – aside from it’s stunningly beautiful music – is that was a momentous artistic collaboration that happened largely at the urging of then president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Prior to this collaboration,  Kalthoum and Wahab were primarily competitors on the Arab music scene, and they did not see eye to eye stylistically. Kalthoum was a traditionalist in musical style and Wahab was interested in experimenting with Western musical concepts and instruments to bring fresh ideas to the traditional style. The result of this cooperation was clearly a success – both then and through the years since.

My favorite recorded version of “Enta Omri” for performance.

What is the song about?

“Enta Omri” is the poster child of Arabic  love songs. It is about the wonder of seeing life through new eyes when true love comes comes along. Musically, it starts out delicately and moves through several melodic sections and a lovely taqsim (read my personal story below)  before ending with a rapturously joyful  ending.

Because of it’s romantic theme and strong associations, this is a perfect choice for an Arab wedding or anniversary as part of a larger show. I find it lovely for veil work if you aren’t going with an Egyptian style entrance.

As with many Oum Kalthoum classics, be aware that the recorded versions you come across will most likely only be selected sections. I advise dancers to become familiar with the whole song so that you aren’t taken by surprise in a live music setting when you request this song.

The translated lyrics:

Your eyes took me back
To my days that are gone
They taught me to regret
the past and its wounds.

Whatever I saw
Before my eyes saw you was a wasted life.
How could they consider that part of my life?

You are my life that starts its dawn with your light.

How much of my life before you was lost
It is a wasted past, my love.

My heart never saw happiness before you
My heart never saw anything in life other
than the taste of pain and suffering.

I started only now to love my life
And started to worry that my life would run away from me.

Every happiness I was longing for before you
My dreams they found it in the light of your eyes.

Oh my heart’s life .. You are more precious than my life
Why I didn’t meet your love a long time ago?

Whatever I saw
Before my eyes saw you was a wasted life.
How could they consider that part of my life?

You are my life that starts its dawn with your light.

The beautiful nights
And the yearning and the great love
From a long time ago
The heart is holding for you.

Taste the love with me
Bit by bit
From the kindness of my heart
That is longing for the kindness of your heart.

Bring your eyes close so that my eyes can get lost
In the life of your eyes.
Bring your hands so that
my hands will rest in the touch of your hands.

My love, come
And enough.
What we missed is not little,
Oh love of my soul.

Whatever I saw
Before my eyes saw you was a wasted life.
How could they consider that part of my life?

You are my life that starts its dawn with your light.

You are more precious than my days.
You are more beautiful than my dreams,
Take me to your sweetness-
Take me away from the universe

Far away, far away.
I and you
Far away, far away.
Alone

With love, our days will awaken
We spend the nights longing for each other

I reconciled with days because of you
I forgave the time because of you

With you I forgot my pains
And I forgot with you my misery.

Your eyes took me back
To my days that are gone
They taught me to regret
the past and its wounds.

Whatever I saw
Before my eyes saw you was a wasted life.
How could they consider that part of my life?

You are my life that starts its dawn with your light.

These lyrics are from Golden Arabic Lyrics where you can also find the transliteration which will help you identify what is being said in each section of your music.

Sung by the Diva Herself…

A  little personal story about “Enta Omri”…

I first came across this song on a compilation CD I borrowed from the public library when I was a brand new student in 1996. I made myself a cassette copy (wow, that makes me feel old!). After taking classes for about a year, my instructor asked me to do a solo for our student night. After six months of badgering me, I finally did  – and this was the song I chose. I had no idea who Oum Kalthoum was or of this song’s classic status. I just loved it. As such a newbie dancer, the taqsim scared me to death so I did a crude tape-to-tape edit to remove most of it. I am now horrified at the thought as I should be!  But this dance is a long and never-ending learning journey, as it should be!

Mahin (121 Posts)

Professional instructor and performer of Middle Eastern belly dance, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and author or the “Daily Bellydance Quickies”. Belly Dance Artrepreneur, Workshop instructor, performer, event producer, and bellydance writer.

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