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Aynama​-​Rtama

by Alif

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about

Alif is the collective sound of five musicians at the forefront of independent music in the Arab world. Conceived in 2012 and taking its name from the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, Alif features Khyam Allami (Oud), Tamer Abu Ghazaleh (Vocals/Buzuq), Bashar Farran (Bass), Maurice Louca (Keys/Electronics) and Khaled Yassine (Drums/Percussion).

Their self-produced debut, Aynama-Rtama (Arabic - translated as Wherever It Falls) is a reflection of its time and environment. Recorded between Beirut in Cairo in 2014, it is a shape-shifting album that twists and turns when you least expect it. Innovative instrumentation, poignant words from avant-garde poets such as Sargon Boulos and Mahmoud Darwish, and the abstract worlds penned by the band’s vocalist Tamer Abu Ghazaleh coalesce to create an intense labyrinth of sounds and emotions. The startling synergy combined with the band’s wide ranging influences, giving birth to a soundscape that is at once familiar and unknown.

Mixed by Ali Chant of Toy Box Studios, Bristol, UK (P.J. Harvey, Rokia Traore, Yann Tierson, Gruff Rhys, John Parish) and mastered by John Dent of Loud Mastering, UK (Bob Marley, Nick Drake, Yann Tiersen, Massive Attack, Nick Cave), Aynama-Rtama traces a complex labyrinth of genres, sounds and emotions, rendered as a unique postcard of the tumultuous rollercoaster-ride of its time.

The album is adorned in artwork featuring a painting by Syrian-Lebanese visual artist Semaan Khawam. His colourful and surreal paintings combined with original typography by Egyptian designer Salma Shamel perfectly compliment the complexities latent in Alif’s music and lyrics. All editions will also feature new English translations of the poems and lyrics by Nariman Youssef.

Aynama-Rtama will be available on CD, black & limited edition red 12” Vinyl LP and download, including Mastered for iTunes and lossless high-definition 24-bit/96kHz audio files.

credits

released September 4, 2015

Album cover artwork painting by Semaan Khawam: 'Don't Move, Stay With Us All Day' © 2014 Semaan Khawam

All music composed, arranged, performed and produced by Alif.

Holako (Hulagu) & Al-Juththa (The Corpse) are poems by Sargon Boulus

Dars Min Kama Sutra (Lesson from Kama Sutra) and Al-Khutba Al-Akhira (The Last Declamation) are poems by Mahmoud Darwish

I'tiraf (Confession) is a poem by Faiha Abdulhadi

Lyrics for Yalla Tnam (Lullaby), Watti Es-Sawt (Keep It Down) and Eish Jabkum Hon? (What Brings You Here?) by Tamer Abu Ghazaleh.

Mixed by Ali Chant, Toybox Studios, Bristol, UK.

Mastered by John Dent, LOUD Mastering, Taunton, UK.

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Alif Beirut, Lebanon

Rhythmic drive and fervour, innovative instrumentation and poignant avant-garde words coalesced as an intense labyrinth of sound and emotion. Alif is the collective sound of five musicians at the forefront of independent music in the Arab world, feat. Khyam Allami (Oud), Tamer Abu Ghazaleh (Vocals/Buzuq), Bashar Farran (Bass), Maurice Louca (Keys/Electronics) and Khaled Yassine (Drums/Percussion). ... more

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Track Name: Holako (Hulagu)
خُيولي
أخَفُّ مِنَ الرِّيحِ

سَنابِكُها تَقدَحُ الشَّراراتِ
إذْ نَدْخُلُ المُدُنَ

الحَرْبُ تَسْتَلقي
كالعَروسِ بِإنتِظاري

والحَتْفُ يَتَكلَّمُ بِاسمي
فأنا هولاكو:

سَيْفٌ في غِمدهِ لا يَسْتَريحُ

ظِلّهُ أَينَما ارْتَمى
يَستَنسِلُ غَيْمَةً مِنَ العُقبانِ الجائِعَة
تطفو فوق البيوت

حيثُ يَراني
اللاجئونَ في
كَوابيسِهِم بَينَ الخَرائِبِ

- شعر لسركون بولص. الترجمة الانجليزية لناريمان يوسف

--------------------

My stallions
are lighter than the wind.

The fire of their hooves
singes the earth
as we enter the cities.

War reclines,
a submissive bride at my call,
and Death speaks in my name,
for I am Hulagu:

a sword untiring,

its shadow, wherever it falls,
begets a cloud of hungry vultures
that circle the houses
where refugees
see me in their nightmares
among the ruins.

- Poem by Sargon Boulus. English translation by Nariman Youssef.
Track Name: Dars Min Kama Sutra (Lesson from Kama Sutra)
بِكوبِ الشَّرابِ المُرَصَّعِ باللازَوَردِ
انْتَظِرْها،
بِصَبْرِ الحِصانِ المُعَدّ لِمُنْحَدَراتِ الجِبالِ
انْتَظِرْها،

بِذَوْقِ الأميرِ الرَّفيعِ البَديعِ
انْتَظِرْها
بِسَبْعِ وَسائدَ مَحْشُوَّةٍ بِالسَّحابِ الخَفيفِ
انتَظِرْها،
بنارِ البَخُورِ النِّسائيِّ مِلءَ المَكانِ
انتَظِرْها،

ولا تَتَعَجَّلْ
فإنْ أَقْبَلَتْ بَعْدَ مَوْعِدِها
فَانْتَظِرْها،
وَإِن أَقْبَلَتْ قَبْلَ مَوْعِدِها
فانْتَظِرْها
وَلا تُجْفِلِ الطَّيْرَ فَوْقَ جَدائِلِها
وانْتَظِرْها،
لِكَيْ تَتَنَفَّسَ هذا الهواءَ الغَريبَ عَلى قَلبِها
وانْتَظِرها،
لِتَرفَعَ عَنْ ساقِها ثَوْبَها غَيْمَةً غَيمَةً
وانْتَظِرْها،

ومُسَّ على مَهَلٍ يَدَها عِنْدَما تَضَعُ الكأسَ فَوْقَ الرُّخامِ
كأنَّكَ تَحْمِلُ عَنْها النَّدى
وانْتَظِرها،

تَحَدَّثْ إِلَيْها كَما يَتَحَدَّثُ نايٌ إِلى وَتَرٍ خائِفٍ في الكَمانِ
كَأنَّكُما شاهِدانِ على ما يُعِدُّ غَدٌ لكما
وانْتَظِرْها،

وَلَمِّعْ لَها لَيْلَها خاتَماً خاتَماً
وانْتَظِرْها
إِلى أَن يَقولَ لَكَ اللَّيلُ:
لَمْ يَبْقَ غَيْرُكُما في الوجودِ
فَخُذْها، بِرِفْقٍ، إِلى مَوْتِكَ المُشْتَهى
وانْتَظِرْها

شعر لمحمود درويش. الترجمة الإنجليزية لناريمان يوسف -

----------

With a wine glass, ornamented in lapis lazuli,
wait for her. With the patience of a horse prepared for mountain slopes,
wait for her. With the courtesy of a refined and splendid prince,
wait for her.

With the softness of seven pillows filled with clouds,
wait for her. With the fire of feminine incense that fills the place,
wait for her, and don’t make haste.


If she arrives behind time,
if she arrives ahead of time,
wait for her.

Don’t startle the bird resting on her curls, and wait for her
to make herself as comfortable as a garden in full bloom, and wait for her
to breathe this air that is a stranger to her heart, and wait for her
to pull up her dress one cloud at a time, and wait for her.

When she places the glass on the marble top, slowly touch her hand
as if to relieve her of the burden of dew drops,
and wait for her.

Talk to her, like a flute to an anxious violin string,
like two witnesses to the schemes of some tomorrow,
and wait for her. Polish her night one ring at a time, and wait for her
until the night tells you:

There is no one left in the world
but the two of you. Only then,
take her, gently, to your desired death,
and wait for her.

- Poem by Mahmoud Darwish. English Translation by Nariman Youssef.
Track Name: Al-Juththa (The Corpse)
عَذّبوا الجُثّةَ
حَتّى طَلعَ الفَجْرُ مُنهَكاً وقامَ الديكُ يحتجُّ
غَرَسوا في لَحْمِها السَّنانير. جَلَدوها بِأسلاكِ الكَهْرُباء
عَلَّقوها مِنَ المِرْوَحَة

عِنْدَما تَعِبَ الجَلّادونَ أَخيراً
وَاسْتراحوا، حَرّكَت الجُثّةُ إصْبعَها الصَّغير
فَتَحَتْ عَينيها الجَريحَتَيْن
وَتَمْتَمَتْ شَيْئاً

هَل كانَتْ تَطلُبُ ماءً؟ هَلْ كانَتْ تُريدُ خُبزاً يا تُرى؟
هَل كانَتْ تَلْعَنُهُم أَم تُطالِبُ بِالمَزيد؟

ماذا كانَت الجُثّةُ تُريد؟

- شعر لسركون بولص. الترجمة الانجليزية لناريمان يوسف

----------

They tortured the corpse
until dawn broke, exhausted,
and the rooster rose to protest.
They planted hooks in its flesh.

They flogged it with electrical wires,
they hung it from the ceiling fan.

When the executioners finally tired
and rested, the corpse moved one little finger,
opened its wounded eyes,
and murmured
something.

Was it demanding water? Was it bread that it wanted?
Was it cursing them or asking for more?

What did the corpse want?

- Poem by Sargon Boulus. English translation by Nariman Youssef.
Track Name: I'tiraf (Confession)
حينَ تَغيب
أَعْتَرِفُ
بأنَّ الأَرْضَ تَدورُ
وأنَّ المَطَرَ يَهِّلُّ
يَدورُ رَحَى الطّاحون

حيَنَ تَكون
أَعْتَرِفُ
بأنَّ الجامِدَ يَتَفَتَّتُ
تَتَوَهَّجُ أَلْوانُ الطَّيفِ
وَيَسري دِفءُ الكَوْن

أَحْتَمِلُ اللامُحْتَمَلَ
اليَوْمِيَّ، العادِيَّ، الرَّسْمِيَّ
وَتَزْهو كُلُّ الأَشْياء

حَيْثُ تَكون
يَتَسَلَّلُ نورُ الشَّمْس

حينَ نَكون
تَشْتَعِلُ الدُّنيا

شعر لفيحاء عبد الهادي. الترجمة الإنجليزية لناريمان يوسف -

----------

When you are far away,
I confess
that the earth turns,
and the rain falls,
turning the millstone.

When you are here,
I confess
that the solid crumbles,
rainbow colours glow,
and the heat of the universe flows.

I bear the unbearable,
the everyday,
the ordinary,
the formal,
and all things bloom.

Wherever you are,
sunlight steals in.

Whenever we are,
the world is ablaze.

- Poem by Faiha Abdulhadi. English translation by Nariman Youssef.
Track Name: Al-Khutba Al-Akhira (The Last Declamation)
هُنالِكَ مَوْتى ينَامونَ في غُرَفٍ سَوْفَ تَبْنونَها،
هُنالِك مَوْتى يَزورونَ ماضيَهُمْ في المَكانِ الَّذي تَهْدِمون،
هُنالِك مَوْتى يَمُرُّونَ فَوقَ الجُسورِ الَّتي سَوْفَ تَبْنونَها،
هُنالِك مَوتى يُضيؤونَ لَيْلَ الفَراشاتِ، مَوْتى يَجيئونَ فَجْراً لكي يَشْرَبُوا شايَهُمْ مَعَكُم، هادئِين،
كما تَرَكَتْهُمْ بَنادِقُكُمْ، فاتْرُكوا يا ضُيوفَ المَكان،
مَقاعدَ خالِيَةً لِلْمُضيفينَ، كي يَقْرؤوا
عَليكُمْ شُروطَ السَّلامِ مَعَ المَيِّتين

شعر لمحمود درويش. الترجمة الإنجليزية لناريمان يوسف -

----------

There are the dead who sleep in rooms you are yet to build.
There are the dead who visit their past in the place you destroy.
There are the dead who traverse the bridges you are yet to build.
There are the dead who illuminate the butterflies’ night.

The dead who arrive at dawn to share your tea, calmly —
as calm as your guns have left them.

So you, visitors of this place, 

must leave some empty seats for your hosts,
that they can recite to you
the terms of peace
with the dead.

- Poem by Mahmoud Darwish. English translation by Nariman Youssef.
Track Name: Yalla Tnam (Lullaby)
قومْ يا بيشقومْ يا بيش
قومْ وَلَوْ نَعْسان
قومْ يا بيش
قَمَرْ يْدورْ ويْعيش
قومْ لا تْنام
طير وحَمام
راح الرِّيش
قومْ لا تْنام
يا بيش

قومْ لا تْنام يا بيش
قَمَرْ يْدور ويْعيش
صوت يصيح بِدانَك
نومَك بيِكْفيش

قومْ لا تنام يا بيش لادبَحْلَك
طير وحَمام والريش يِمْسَحْلَك
هالحيطان ويفوت بنومَك
قَمَر يدور ويعيش

قومْ لا تنام بَرْدان ما تِنسى
صُوَرَك عالحيطان يا بيش
وصوت يصيح بِدانك يِعلى
نومَك بِيْكَفّيش

قومْ لا تنام يا بيش لا تنام
وَلَو هَلكان مَوجوعْ لا تنام
بَرد وخوف وريش يلومَك
وقَمَر يدور ويعيش

شَمس تنام دَفيان وادبَحْلَك
طير وحَمام يا بيش
شمس تدور وتعيش واضْويلَك
هالبُستان يا بيش
شَمْس تنام دَفيان وادبَحلَك
طير وحَمام يا بيش
شَمس تدور وتعيش واحكيلَك
يلا تنام يا بيش

تأليف تامر ابو غزالة. الترجمة الإنجليزية لناريمان يوسف -

----------

Rise, Beesh.
Rise even if you’re sleepy.
Rise, Beesh.
A moon that turns and lives.
Rise, don’t sleep.
Birds and doves,
feathers gone.
Rise, Beesh, don’t sleep.

Rise, Beesh, don’t sleep.
A moon that turns and lives.
A voice screams in your ears:
It’s not enough to sleep.

Rise, Beesh, don’t sleep.
Else I’ll sacrifice the birds and doves for you,
their feathers will cover these walls, and
a moon that turns and lives
will circle in your sleep.

Rise, don’t sleep while cold,
and don’t forget
your pictures on these walls, Beesh.
The voice in your ears screams louder:
It’s not enough to sleep.

Rise, Beesh, don’t sleep.
Even if drained and hurting, don’t sleep.

Cold and fear and feathers reproach you.
A moon that turns and lives.

A sun to sleep in warmth,
a sacrifice of birds and doves, for you, Beesh.

A sun that turns and lives,
a garden of light, for you, Beesh.

A sun to sleep in warmth,
a sacrifice of birds and doves, for you, Beesh.
A sun that turns and lives, and a lullaby:

Close your eyes, go to sleep, Beesh.

- Lyrics by Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. English translation by Nariman Youssef.
Track Name: Watti Es-Sawt (Keep It Down)
الصّوت واطي، علّي الصوت
الصّوت واطي، علّي الصوت
قالّك المَشوِة بالشورت هناك أحلى وحنغمِّس شكولا بِالبَسكوت
قال السَّمكة بالبحر التاني أزكى والعنزِة هناك ما بِتموت
قالّك الصحرا فيها بندورة عِندُن والشتوية بتشتي فروت
قال العيشة بالبلاد التانية أحلى من العيشة من تَحْتِ البوط
علّي الصّوت
من تَحْتِ البوط

الصّوت واطي، علِّي الصّوت
الصّوت واطي، من تَحْتِ البوط
قالَّك حَضَبضَب وأَلَمْلم وأَحَضّر وأدَبّر واستعير وأَطير وأَهاجِر وأَسافِر
قال حَفَتِّش وأَنَبِّش وأَفَكر وأخطّط واستدير وأسير وأَتاجِر وأَعافِر
قال حَناضِل وأَكافِح وأَدافِع وأَصافِح وأَناكِح وأَشارِك وأَبارِك
لأنّه العيشه بِالبلاد التانية أحلى من العيشة مِن تَحتِ البوط
طَب إركَب البوت، وإوعى تْعود
واتغدّا دود، واتعَشّى وموت

أو علّي الصّوت، مِن تَحتِ البوط
أو حِبِّ البوط، ووَطّي الصّوت

تأليف تامر ابو غزالة. الترجمة الإنجليزية لناريمان يوسف -

----------

It’s too quiet. Turn it up.

Over there, he said, we'll walk in shorts,
and eat chocolate-dipped biscuits.
Fish, he said, tastes better from that sea,
and goats over there don’t ever die.
They have tomatoes in the desert, he said,
and it rains fruits from the sky.
Living abroad, he said, is better than living under the boot.

Well then turn it up.
Turn it up.

Under the boot.

It’s too quiet. Turn it up.
It’s too quiet. Under the boot.

He said I’ll tidy up and gather up, prepare and save up, borrow, fly and relocate.

I’ll dig and uproot, think and plan, turn and walk, strive and trade.

I’ll struggle and fight, protect, partake, meet and greet and fornicate.

Living abroad, he said, is better than living under the boot.

Well then get on a boat, and don’t come back.
Have worms for lunch. Eat and die.
Or turn it up. Under the boot.
Or cherish the boot. And keep it down.

- Lyrics by Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. English translation by Nariman Youssef.
Track Name: Eish Jabkum Hon? (What Brings You Here?)
أنا عِندي عَنكَبوت بِراسي وانا قاعِد
والسَّلاحِف عَم تِمْشي عَ ضَهْري وانا قاعِد

إيش جابْكُم هون؟
والطّابِة هَيْها عَم تِوقَع عَ خَدّي
ومَدّ وجَزِر الطّابِة في المَلاعِب
وأَنا لا لعَّيب ولا مشاهِد
إيش جابكم وأنا كافي خيري شرِّي قاعِد؟!

أنا عِندي عَنكَبوت بِراسي وانا قاعِد
والسَّلاحِف عَم تِمْشي عَ ضَهري وانا قاعِد

إيش جابكُم هون؟
والنّجمِة مَرَّت بِابتسامِة صَفرا
ومَدّ وجَزر بروحي الكَواكِب
وانا لا المَرّيخ ولا عُطارِد
إيش جابكُم وانا كافي خيري شرِّي قاعد؟!

أنا عِندي عَنْكَبوت براسي وانا قاعِد
والسَّلاحِف عَم تِمشي عَ ضَهري وانا قاعِد

وإيش جاب الضَّو، عَم يِزحَف ع وجِّي
وإيش جاب جمهور، وانا لا ساحِر
لا مُفتي ولا قائِد، وَلا مُؤَلِّف المَشاهد
إيش جابكُم وانا كافي خيري شرِّي قاعد؟!

أنا عِندي عَنكَبوت براسي وانا قاعِد
والسَّلاحِف عَم تِمشي عَ ضَهري وانا قاعِد

تأليف تامر ابو غزالة. الترجمة الإنجليزية لناريمان يوسف -

----------

I have a spider in my head while I just sit here,
tortoises walking on my back while I just sit here.

What brings you here?

That ball there, landing on my cheek.
Ebb and flow, the ball in the playing fields
when I’m neither player nor spectator.
What brings you when I’m just minding my business, sitting here?


I have a spider in my head while I just sit here,
tortoises walking on my back while I just sit here.

What brings you here?

A star flies by with a yellow smirk.
Ebb and flow, my spirit among the planets,
when I’m neither Mars nor Mercury.
What brings you when I’m just minding my business, sitting here?

I have a spider in my head while I just sit here,
tortoises walking on my back while I just sit here.

What brings the light, crawling on my face?
What brings this audience? I’m no magician,
no preacher, no leader, nor the writer of these scenes.

What brings you when I’m just minding my business, sitting here?

I have a spider in my head while I just sit here,
tortoises walking on my back while I just sit here.

- Lyrics by Tamer Abu Ghazaleh. English translation by Nariman Youssef.