Rich, complex, and beautiful — Lamma Bada

Lamma Bada


Tuning the Oud

Rich, complex, and beautiful — could describe someone to fall in love with. But I’m talking about an Arabic song, sometimes rendered in English as Lamma Bada Yatathanna, an ancient muwashshah, a genre of secular music from Al Andalus, Moorish Spain, which means it’s from some time before 1492 – that’s half a millennium ago!

Have a taste before I say more about Lamma Bada:

That was by Radio Tarifa from their album Rumba Argelina.

Here’s a bit of a very different version. (There are hundreds of versions. This song is very popular.)

That was by the terrific Nubian Oud Player Hamza el Din from his album Eclipse.

Here’s one translation of the words:

When the gossamer nymph appears,
My beloved’s beauty drives me to distraction;
When I am enraptured by a glimpse,
My beloved’s beauty is a tender branch caught by the breeze;

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