Publicat el 28 de juny de 2018

The first gay love song of the Arab pop?

مشروع ليلى Mashrou Leila (Night Project or Leila’s Project, depending on whether you consider that Leila is a girl-name or not) is a pop band formed in Beirut in 2008. Its creation has been a pleasant surprise in the Arab art scene. Its songs are good for international pop standars and its members are truly and independent artists that exercice their freedom of speach with the only limit imposed by their own creativity. And, yes, they do that in the Middle East.

One of the topics in its first album is a love story between two men. The song in question is called شم الياسمين Smell the Jasmine. The lyrics play with the ambiguity of the traditional Arabic poetry, in which the authors may use male pronouns to refer to their beloved women. The ambiguity ends when the male protagonist of the song says he would like to be the other man’s woman.

In addition, the singer of the group, Hamed Sinno, is probably the first Lebanese singer who has publicly declared himself a gay. He says that “someone had to do it.” Hamed had no problem in ardently displaying the rainbow flag during their first big concert at the Byblos International Festival 2010. It is rumored that the Prime Minister at that time, Saad Hariri, attended, but left after half an hour quite disgusted with some of the lyrics and the messages of the band.

Bellow you can listen and read the lyrics in Arabic and English to Smell the Jasmine and another of their hits: Fasateen.

Translation of the lyrics: شم الياسمين Smell the Jasmine
 شم الياسمين و ذق الدبس بطحينه
Smell the jasmine and taste the molasses
و تذكر,تذكر, تذكر, تذكرني لك
Remember, remember, remember to mention me
يا اخي اوعه تنساني
Brother, just don’t forget me
يا حبيبي, يا نصيبي
My lover, my prize
كان بودي خليك بقربي
I would have liked to keep you beside me
عرفك عاأهلي تتوجلي قلبي
Introduce you to my parents, have you crown my heart
طبخ اكلاتك, اشطف لك بيتك
Cook your food, clean your house
دلع ولادك, اعمل ست بيتك
Pamper your children, be your housewife
بس انت ببيتك و انا بشي بيت لك و الله يا ريتك ما بعمرك فليت
But you’re in your house, and I’m in another I wish you never left
هل ياسمين
This jasmine
Forgets me
The jasmine
و شم الياسمين و تذكر تنساني
Smell the jasmine and remember to forget me

Translation of the lyrics: Fasateen

بتتذكري لما قلتيلي إنك رح تتزوجيني بلا فلوس و بلا بيت
Remember when you told me you’ll marry me, without money or a house
بتتذكري كنتي تحبي مع اني مش داخل دينك تزكري كيف كنا هيك
Remember when you used to love me, despite me not being part of your religion
بتتذكري لما إمك شافتني بتختك قالتلي إنسى عنك
Remember when your mother saw me sleeping in your bed, she told me to forget you
واتفقنا نضلنا هيك بلا أدوار وطنطنات بلا كرافات وصبحيات
And we agreed to stay like that, without roles or rhetoric/ persuasion Without neckties and morning visits
بلا ملايين بلا فساتين
Without millions or dresses
مسكتيلي ايدي ووعدتيني بشي ثورة كيف نسيتي كيف نسيتيني
You held my hand. Promised me a revolution. How did you forget me? How?
ومشطتيلي شعري وبعتتيني عالدوام كيف بتمشطي مشطيني
And you combed my hair and sent me off on time. Comb me the way you comb yourself
مسكتيلي ايدي ووعدتيني بشي ثورة كيف نسيتي كيف نسيتيني
You held my hand. Promised me a revolution. How did you forget me? How?
بتتذكري لما قلتيني إنك نويك تتركيني بلا فلوس بلا بيت
Remember when you told me you plan to leave me, because I had no money or a house

Autor: Jordi Llaonart (font:

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