‘We copy the music of others’ – ARAB TIMES


Ahmad-Al-Sarraf

The song
‘Ya Musafer Wahdak’ is one of the most beautiful tunes of the eminent Egyptian
musician Mohammad Abdel Wahab, or this is what I thought until yesterday. The
lyrics of the song written by Hussein Al-Sayed go like this:

Oh lone traveler passing me

Why are you leaving me and preoccupying me

You said goodbye with barely a ‘salaam’

I’m giving you my heart

These eye tears of mine speak

Oh lone traveler passing me

In the fire of desire I will wait

And be patient with my heart and hope

Though you don’t come to me I am happy

Make me desirous in your presence and promise me

I’m afraid that the estrangement might be sweet for you

And that the distance changes your conditions

May I always be on your mind?

Oh lone traveler passing me

No matter how big the distance between us

My heart will never change

I will remember you more

But first just you must keep thinking of me

I do not know how many times I have listened to this song,
which dates back to the 1940s, and how much I enjoyed it. It is the song which
was composed and performed by Abdel Wahab in the film ‘Love is forbidden’ and
he described it as a very sophisticated song, very difficult and exhausting to
compose.

But a few days ago and by chance I heard a very old song by
the famous Greek singer and actress Sofia Vempo, which dates back to the late
1930s and is composed by Greek Costas Giannides, and I found its melody the
same as the song Ya Musafer without any addition or any change.

I almost doubted who took it from the other, but other
experiences of Abdul Wahab as appeared in Internet suggest that he quoted the
Greek tune. He, like other great Arab, Persians, Turkish and other musicians,
Abdel Wahab had been influenced by the international musical compositions and
quoted the most famous tunes and attributed to them.

Without this truth, I would 
have said that the Greek 
benefited from the tune of Abdel Wahab, the list of quotations of the
professional musician are long starting from the ‘Saja al-Layl’ to the end of
the operetta, Majnoun Laila, composed by the musician Casio, through the
prelude of the song of the Al-Gandoul (gondola), similar to the Russian
Shehrazade Symphony of Ramesky Korsakov, in addition to the prelude of the
famous Al-Qamh Allila (wheat is tonight) from the ballet ‘Nutcracker’ of the
Russian musician  Tchaikovsky, and many
others, such as the prelude of the song ‘Ah mennak Ya Garehni’ which is one of
the popular Romanian musics.

As in the song ‘Yally Btnadi Alefk’ based on the eighth
Symphony of Schopart, not to mention the prelude of the song ‘El mayyah Terwy
Al-Atshan’ from the ‘Barber of Sevilla’ of the musician Gioachino Rossini, and
important parts of the song of La Takzebi (Do not lie) and the song Fouq
Al-Shouk (over thorns) of Abdel Halim Hafez which is the prelude of a Western
melody playing at tea parties and so much more. This is what I got from the
Internet.

Khalifah Al-Kharafi says
that despite his confidence that many of the great Arab composers such as Abdel
Wahab, Farid al-Atrash and Rahabaniya have quoted or were influenced by the
tunes of others; their advantages are more than their negativities. They have
contributed to raising the level of Arab and oriental artistic taste in
general. Why do we not disagree with him.

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf

e-mail: habibi.enta1@gmail.com



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