Must Know Songs for Belly Dancers: "Lessa Fakir"

Who, what and when?

“Lessa Fakir” is yet another Oum Kalthoum classic. (I promise, there are songs by other artists on this list -stick with us! ) The music for “Lessa Fakir” was written by Riad-Al-Sonbati, and the lyrics by Abdel Fattah Mustafa. It was first released in 1973, which was very late in her career.

What is the song about?

“Lessa Fakir” means “Do You Remember?”. Thematically, this song is very different from the others we have looked at so far in this series. This is not about the wonderment of being in love or longing for a lover. This is the song of a mature woman who has come through heartbreak and now sees her ex’s games clearly. I remember when I first read this passage of the translation years ago – it really hit home.

I have decided to inquire about the meaning of all of my doubts and fears
While you were enjoying yourself seeing me worried and confused
You referred to my dark, sorrowing nights thinking of you as a game

Tell me, now you know the end. What do you want from me?
Have you come longing for my love, or my tears and suffering?

You can find the full lyrics in both Arabic and English here.

Don’t be fooled by the pretty melody. If this is a “love song”, it’s a song of a woman who loved herself enough to get on with her life and not be dragged back into a bad relationship. This is wonderful and powerful emotional fuel to bring to a deep bellydance performance, but save it for the stage or other occasion – not your client’s anniversary party – especially if they are Middle Eastern!

As always, make sure you familiarize yourself with all parts of the original song. The versions arranged for bellydance compilation CDs are not complete. In a live music situation, you are bound to encounter other sections of these classics that aren’t on your CDs!

My favorite recorded version for performance

The original version sung by Oum Kalthoum