Al-Wāḥa Blog

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on the music of Al- Wāḥa

Published: March 16, 2018

Assalamu alaikum, everybody! Welcome back to the Al- Wāḥa blog! Today’s topic is on the songs of Al- Wāḥa. Everyone can agree that music and sound are a huge part of our daily lives. We listen to music for entertainment. It can also influence our mood by making us feel sadder, happier, or even just understood. In addition to that, music is an excellent educational tool, and in the case of foreign language education, it can make us feel significantly closer to the language, culture, and people we are studying. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Al- Wāḥa and Concordia Language Villages makes extensive use of music and singing to enhance our language immersion experience.

Some songs at Al- Wāḥa signal a change from one activity to the next, such as this song which alerts the villagers that it’s mealtime, or this one, which we sing when it’s time to go get ready for sleep. As you might notice, as the villagers are singing, they make gestures to help them connect the words that they are saying to the meanings of those words. This use of Total Physical Response (TPR) is essential to learning new songs and music, as Al- Wāḥa is an Arabic language immersion experience, meaning that instruction happens, with the exception of cabin council time, completely in Arabic. Because instruction is in Arabic, along with gesturing, we also spend a lot of time slowly going over the sounds of the words, and repeating the lyrics, speaking them, as well as singing them, so that villagers have an easier time learning new songs.

Along with the songs for mealtime and sleep time, we have taught villagers Arabic versions of Disney songs. We have also danced to Arabic songs, like Cairokee's "Etganen" and  Cheb Khaled's "C'est La Vie." In addition, we have been working on writing Arabic versions to familiar English songs. Recently, at the request of two of my amazing colleagues who will be on the Al- Wāḥa staff this summer as well, I wrote lyrics to Oasis’s “Wonderwall.” Although the song is still in progress, I thought it would be fun to introduce you, dear reader, to the lyrics, and in case any villagers coming this summer are reading this, perhaps they can get a head start on learning the song! Since I can’t be there to gesture what the words mean, and it would be a bit awkward to do it through video, I have illustrated portions of the lyrics to help you figure out what they mean. The corresponding Arabic words and their transliterations are bolded. At the end of the lyrics, I will give the translation of the illustrated words and the lyrics, and you can see how close you were to catching the meanings of those words! Sound fun?! Let’s get started!


Al- Wāḥa - الواحة


اليوم صحيت الساعة سبعة

Il yowm s7ait il sa3a sab3a,











ع(لى) أغاني أم كلثوم

3a(la) aghani Umm Kalthoum.











أول ما دخلت القدس

Aw-wil ma dakhalt il-Quds,











شميت طعمية و فول

Shammait ta3miyya wi fool.











كل يوم أكلة جميلة

Kol yowm akla gameela,


وحدة من مليون

Wa7da min milyown,


من مليون

Min milyown.


و كل صاحب تلاقيه طول عمرك

Wi kol sa7ib tila2ii tool 3omrak.










و كل حاجة ما ينساها قلبك

Wi kol 7aga ma yinsaha albak.










عشان جايز

3ashan gayiz,










إنتي إلي هتنقذيني

Inti i -lli hatinqizeenee.










وبعد كل ده 

W ba3d kol da,


نكره الفراق

Nikrah il-firaq.












Al- Wāḥa.











كل يوم فيها سعادة

Kol yowm feeha sa3ada,











و مهما كان

Wi mahma kan,


نكره الفراق

Nikrah il firaq.


Here are the meanings behind the illustrations:

A. I woke up at 7 o'clock. Yes, what is written on the clock are the numbers in Arabic!

B. Umm Kalthoum, perhaps the most famous Arab singer to date, was active starting in the 1920s and is still extremely popular today!

C. al-Quds, or the Dome of the Rock in Palestine; also the name of our dining hall

D. Falafel (in the Egyptian dialect)

E. Friend

F. Heart

G. Maybe

H. Save me!

I. Parting

J. Al- Wāḥa translates to "oasis."

K. Happiness


How did you do?! Did you learn any new words?


Here is the translation of the lyrics:

Today, I woke up at 7 o'clock,

To the songs of Umm Kalthoum.

As soon as I entered al-Quds,

I smelled falafel and ful mudammas (crushed fava beans).

Every day, a wonderful meal,

One in a million,

In a million.


And every friend, you'll keep him for a lifetime.

And everything, you'll heart will never forget it.


Because maybe,

You'll be the one that saves me.

And after all that,

We hate parting.


Al- Wāḥa,

Every day there is happiness,

And no matter what,

We hate parting (from it).


I hope you enjoyed learning about the music of Al- Wāḥa and learning our new song! If you'd like to hear the song sung in Arabic, click here. Everyone is super excited to meet our new group of villagers, and we are already preparing for their arrival! See you inshallah this summer for the most exciting Al- Wāḥa experience yet!