When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra

Advice for Ǧwāher

A lyric poem written and performed by Musallim bir Rāmes, recorded by Sam Liebhaber in Ṣalālah (February 2, 2012) and translated with the help of Musallim bir Rāmes. Musallim bir Rāmes initially composed this poem for a young woman, Ǧwāher, whom he overheard crying one day. She was being courted by a very wealthy man (generically understood to be “the sultan”) who offered valuable gifts to her and her family. Her relatives and neighbors began to bother her with requests for immediate money; Ǧwāher asked them to wait until she was actually married. The poet advises her to ignore her relatives and neighbors and to watch what she says around them.

The video recording of this song upon which the following transcription and translation were based was initially hosted on YouTube. However, the video is no longer available.
Advice for ǦwāherTranslation
1) ǧwāher hōnet we-mdīt // w-līn tḳaźfen elhēbǦwāher is a fragrant breeze and the south wind // that extinguishes our burning
2) men ṭayres tbōsen lā // ġǧūten ṣeyġet wel ḏhēbAnd after her, they [the young girls] do not dress up // the young girls, in jewelry and gold.
3) ber ṭawr ḥōkem śnīs // w-līn ḳōdem eḳḳəlēbOnce upon a time, a ruler [the Sultan] saw her // and gave us an advance on [her] dowry
4) hīn l-ʾādēden kel byūt // ġeyr eḳḳənōdel we-slēbTo us, to each and every one of us, [he gave] houses // not to mention additional gifts and guns.
5) ḥḫēsa melyōn tmōm // hēn ṭāṭ yḳawder yeḥsēbHer uncles received a complete million // if anyone is able, let him count it.
6) w-nūke kel eḏ-heh śnēǧ // hnīs eḳōdem eṭṭəlēbAnd everyone who is a relation came // and offered their requests to her.
7) tʾawmer heh el-tektəwōl // kel śī yḫawreǧ heh sbēbShe says to him: don’t rush // everything arises from a reason.
8) ḥebrētī merźōne tēš // ḥṭar emādeš w-meḏhēbMy girl, I will entrust you with some wisdom // atop your mind and good sense.
9) el be-ǧwēreš tehmey // bātī eźawlet w-ʾāǧēbDon’t listen to your neighbors // ladies of arrogance and desire.
10) teġteyrī hen el-heh ḳyōs // we-mġōr be-ḥrōš teddəbēbIf you say [something] that is not weighed and measured // then afterwards, in your head, you will be ashamed. 

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