1 November 2007

Ya Rayah - English Translation

I used to love this song 9 years ago. Still do. But now I finally found the lyrics!

Rachid Taha - Oh Emigrant

Oh where are you going?
Eventually you must come back
How many ignorant people have regretted this
Before you and me

How many overpopulated countries and empty lands have you seen?
How much time have you wasted?
How much have you yet to lose?
Oh emigrant in the country of others
Do you even know what's going on?
Destiny and time follow their course but you ignore it

Why is your heart so sad?
And why are you staying there miserable?
Hardship will end and you no longer learn or build anything
The days don't last, just as your youth and mine didn't
Oh poor fellow who missed his chance just as I missed mine

Oh traveler, I give you a piece of advice to follow right away
See what is in your interest before you sell or buy
Oh sleeper, your news reached me
And what happened to you happened to me
Thus, the heart returns to its creator, the Highest (God)


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for posting this translation of "Ya rayah," a song which I only recently came across but which I then instantly loved.

I'd quibble only a bit with the translation. "Oh, Emigrant," may be technically correct in English but it is unwieldy and sounds foreign and bureaucratic. There isn't a good English word for the title. I wonder, too, about the word choices of "overpopulated," and"ignorant." Maybe the translator is nailing Taha's meaning, but the song existed before him and part of its appeal is that it can apply to so many of life's events, not only to emigrating to France, but also to growing up and leaving one's own family or any other launching into the world.

I love that although the song tells you that all efforts will fail and everything is futile, there is a real sense of community in the song--everyone else is failing right along side of the traveler and the singer is failing with the traveler. This community may be spinning into fatalistic oblivion, but they're all doing it together.

Again, thanks for the translation.

Laura said...

You are most welcome Karen. Thank you very much for your comment.

I agree. This song, written by Dahmane El Harachi, interpellates on many levels and creates a wonderful spirit of solidarity. You've expressed it so well.

I love seeing Faudel, Khaled and Taha on stage. Their soulful camaraderie inspires and uplifts.

Karen said...

Thanks for posting the translation. This song was awesome in the soundtrack for Something New.


TT said...


I like the song since I watched a movie titled "Something New" and thank you very much for the English translation. The meaning is very deep and I really appreciate it.


yermalita said...

i always wondered what the song meant... thanks for posting the translation..it is so cool...

michm said...

Thank you so much for the lyrics of Ya Rayah
Look at the Balkan version of the same song, as a love song this time, by the Greek singer George Dalaras and the Serbian composer Goran Bregovic “Ki an se Thelo” If I want you
Greetings from Greece.

Camaal Fotografia said...

Ironically used to listen this most when I was abroad without knowing its meaning, thanks for posting the lyrics.