Sirt el hob

Title in Arabic:  سيرة الحب
Title in English: Subject of Love

Year: 1964

Composer: Baligh Hamdi
Lyrics: Mursi Jamil ‘Aziz

Although it does not exactly leave much of this impression to us, Western bellydancers, the cooperation between this specific composer and this specific lyricist should result in an “easy” song one. 🙂 It is said that Baligh Hamdi’s music was based heavily on folk/traditional music, and he only introduced external influences to his music if they fit that base. And the lyrics written by Mursi Jamil ‘Aziz were in a simple and familiar language.

There is also a more gossip-y version of why the song’s lyrics exclaim love in such a direct way. I’ve heard (but unfortunately there is no credible source to back that up), that the lyricist was in love with Oum Kalthoum. But of course, it was an unrequited love.

While most of Oum Kalthoum’s songs speak of the tragedy of love, I find this one unusually happy. It tells a story of someone who has never understood what being in love means, and who has feared love. But now they’ve found themselves in love – actually they are melting in it 🙂 and the world is beautiful! You can check out different versions of translations here, here and here.

Sirt El Hob is one of my favourite Oum Kalthoum songs, and it really gives a lot of material for interpretation when it comes to dancing. So, here are some great examples:

Randa, dancing to only the vocals of the song during the first 2,5 minutes of the video

Mercedes, with her unique expression

And beautiful Shereen

Sources used: 

Danielson, V. The voice of Egypt: Umm Kulthum, Arabic song, and Egyptian society in the twentieth century.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.
Hachlef, A. Homage to Baligh Hamdi Whose Songs Have Been Interpreted By The Greatest Singers.  Warda Online.
Oum Kalthoum songs. Al Mashriq.
Oum Kalthoum - The Topic of Love. Music Layoonak: Arabic song Lyrics and Translations
Serat al-Hob. Serpentine Communications.
Sirt el Hob. Shira.net.
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