Title in Arabic: انت عمري
Title in English: You Are My Life
Composer: Mohamed Abdel Wahab
Lyrics: Ahmad Shafiq Kamel
It seems to me that Inta Omri is by far the most well-known Oum Kalthoum song: in addition to numerous Arabic renditions of the song it can also be found in other languages, like Hebrew, Greek and Turkish (here and here) for example. Inta Omri was the first cooperation project between Oum Kalthoum and Mohamed Abdel Wahab, the two “high priests of the [music] business” of that time.
It did not happen easily. Oum Kalthoum and Mohamed Abdel Wahab had coexisted in the music world for years, however they never showed warm feelings towards each other. Oum Kalthoum was all about Egyptianness, while Mohamed Abdel Wahab was a well-known innovator. And let’s not forget, they were both stars 🙂 It is believed that although many friends and acquaintances urged the two to cooperate, the final facilitation came from the President of Egypt of that time, Gamal Abdel Nasser, himself.
Even after coming out with a song together, they still could not settle their differences. A few days after the song’s premier Oum Kalthoum served the composer with a legal warning. Apparently Wahab had made his own recording of Inta Omri and tried to sell it to the Egyptian Radio. Eventually the conflict was solved and Wahab’s version was never heard on the radio.
Among general public Inta Omri was an instant success. Yet, some of the musicians and composers of that time did not really hold the song in high regard.
Inta Omri is a beautiful poetic love song. It says that only after finding love one feels alive. Love is sweeter than dreams and more precious than life. It isn’t a sad song in an obvious way, but from the different translations it seems to that Inta Omri talks about unrequited love. You can see if you agree with me by checking out different translations here, here and here.
There are so many beautiful videos of different dancers dancing to Inta Omri. Here are some that I picked out for you.
Yael Zarca from France dancing with an Egyptian band:
Dalila of Cairo:
And just for fun, here is the famous Dubai Fountain dancing to Inta Omri! 🙂
Sources used: Danielson, V. The voice of Egypt: Umm Kulthum, Arabic song, and Egyptian society in the twentieth century. Chicago: UInte Omri. Shira.netMohamed Abdel Wahab. Belly Dance Museum.Mohamed Abdel Wahab. Al Mashriq.Om Kalthoum - You Are My Life. Music Layoonak: Arabic Song Lyrics and Translations.Oum Kalthoum - Inta Omri. AllTHeLyrics.com