Shaabi Dance – Salam Alaikoum by Saad (translation)

shaabi3On March 1st LABA held a showcase where I danced a fun Shaabi improvisation. I was surprised how many people came to me after this asking about the style. I even felt guilty for not performing a true Shaabi piece, because the thing that I danced was more Shaabi-inspired improvisation, but maybe not the purest Shaabi dance.

Ok, let me explain it.
What is Shaabi?
Shaabi – is an Egyptian musical genre. It is a form of popular working-class music which evolved from baladi in the second half of the 20th century.
Shaabi literally means ‘music of the people’. It originated in Cairo in the 1970s, as a new form of urban music expressing the difficulties and frustrations of modern Egyptian life. Shaabi lyrics can be both intensely political, and filled with humour and double entendre. (c)

When it comes to dancing, Shabbi dance is usually more of a street dance. It’s not about technique. It’s about having fun, even making fun of something or somebody (while dancing)… It’s the attitude, the atmosphere, the mood. It’s more “heavy” dance, meaning more earthy. Egyptian dancers say that non-Egyptian dancers can’t really dance a true Shaabi, because we don’t know how to be ugly 🙂 This dance is not about trying hard or looking good and polished, it is really about just having fun to and with the music.
shaabi2Who is Saad El Soghayar?
Saad El Soghayar is an Egyptian singer. His music is inspired from the streets; it’s energetic, positive, and light-heartening romantic with a real sense of Egyptian irony and humor. His songs in the movie (“Lakhmet Ras”) became the most heard Shaabi songs at the time, and are still played in weddings all over the country.
Arab people might even call his music “low class songs”, something you can hear/listen in the cab or Egyptian market (souk), but not something you would play at a respectable event.
What is the song Salam Alaikoum by Saad about?
To tell you the truth, it was almost a last minute choice. I’ve just picked up my Shaabi dress from the seamstress (btw, her name is Isabel Sibal, she makes one of a kind couture costumes and you should check out her FB page!) after couple of alterations we’ve made. And I couldn’t wait to wear it and dance in it! I was excited about the showcase, because it’s a perfect place where you can share the happiness of a new costume 🙂
The song is from Bellydance Superstars Vol 6 album.

My good friend, a famous musician from Israel, Saleh Heby was so nice to me and translated the song! I’m publishing the translation here in case somebody wants to dance for this song, too.

Salam Alaikoum by Saad.
Yalla, let’s dance together
Peace and Hello everybody!
If it’s a good morning or a good evening
I’m here to make you sing and dance
And to tell you peace and hello and kisses from me
Let’s all dance and enjoy
At the rest can eat their hearts out.

Everyone who takes out money and gives me a tip
Will get a kiss from me
Let’s all get together and dance
Talk and say hello
If the sadness comes to you,
What will you say?
Peace and Hello everybody!
Let’s all dance!
Peace on you morning and night!

Do you want to live at least one night
Without headache and sadness?
Want to not give a damn?
And if you r worried for your family
Don’t worry about anything!
Dance, enjoy and don’t prohibit yourself
And your soul from fun.
When you dance, luck comes to you
Do you know what it says?
Peace and hello!

Good morning to people in Shubra*
Good morning to people in Ambaba*
Watch out when you get to Albatnya**
Don’t get kill over there
Don’t fight with people
And just say
Do you know what to say?
Peace and hello!

*Subra and Ambaba are the neighborhoods in Egypt
**Albatnya is a dangerous neighborhood in Egypt

I thought it suits the showcase theme so great! We all need to dance together in happiness and take it easy! So I’ve decided I’ll dance for this song.

Thank you for coming to me and asking me questions. Thank you for being curious and hungry for new knowledge. I hope I could tell you something new about Egyptian Folk music and dance.
(Picture credits to Clint Marien)

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