I listened to another patriotic post revolution Egyptian song today, and I teared. At some point my facebook page was (no kidding) all shared by one single video. Twitter was buzzing with the new Cairokee video. I couldn’t resist… I clicked.
The video started by an intriguing capture of the mood of the music, with light, and parallels between lyrics and objects lying around in a vintage looking apartment (like the Tahrir square apartments). The vocalist did not particularly impress me, but the mood and the lyrics had me wait those first 10 seconds before getting my I-am-above-these-western-imitation-post-revolution-songs mood I often get into. But lo and behold a familiar voice and face appear in the screen shot. Habibty (my beloved) Aida Al Ayoubi.
I must have been 14 when Aida Al Ayoubi’s star rose in the Egyptian music scene, she was one of the few singers at the time that could actually sing about a bird, not a lover and capture the ears of millions of Egyptians. Her famous song A’la Bali (on my mind) gets floods of tears from your humble slave whenever I listen to it. It talks about the trend in Egyptians leaving their country to find work abroad in the nineties. It has a blaming tone to Egyptians abandoning their homeland to build foreign land instead of their own.
Three hit albums in, she quit her music career, started wearing a head scarf, and had a very low profile life. She continued to sing in religious gatherings, old traditional Sufi (qasidas) poems.
This is Aida Al Ayoubi’s second post revolution song and appearance with another now famous post revolution band called Cairokee.
Here’s the translation:
O, O Square.. where were you for a long time now?..we sang with you.. we toiled with you.. and we fought our fears..and we made supplications.. one hand.. day and night.. with you nothing, is impossible.. the sound of freedom, gathers us.. finally our lives have meaning.. no turning back, our voice is heard..and dreaming has finally seized to be banned..
O, O Square.. where were you for a long time now?.. you broke the wall.. you turned on the light.. you gathered around you, a broken people.. we are born anew.. and the stubborn dream was born.. we differ, and the intention is pure.. sometimes the picture was unclear.. we’ll protect our country, and our children’s children.. the rights of our lost youth..
O, O Square.. where were you for a long time now? with you we felt, and we started.. after we were gone and finished.. we must change ourselves with our own hands.. you have given us so much and the rest is left for us.. sometimes I worry that you’ll be but a memory.. we stay far away from you, the idea dies.. and we return to forgetting the past.. and we tell of you, only in stories..
O, O Square.. where were you for a long time now?.. a square filled with different kinds of people, in it whose sold out, and the brave.. in it whose devoted and whose taking a ride.. and the screamer, and the mute..we gather, we drink tea.. we now know how to get our rights.. you made the world listen to them, and you made the neighbors gather..
O, O Square..Where were you for a long time now?.. our idea, is our strength.. and our weapon lies in our unity.. a square that says the truth.. it always tells the oppressor No!.. a square like a wave.. people riding it, and people pulled by it.. and the people on the shore are saying it’s a fad.. and the works of man are all written..
O, O Square.. where were you for a long time now?