“Sulayma” (nickname for Salma) is one of those musical jewels worth revisiting. The song, in classical Arabic language, is based on a romantic monologue describing the laments of a person being betrayed by the beloved one. Whether this person is the poet (a man) being betrayed by Salma (a woman) or the woman singer being betrayed by another woman, in both cases, it is a descriptive way of understanding the song. If one wishes to liberate these poetic images from their immediate meaning and elevate them to a more dynamic one. Who is Salma then? And what is the essence of betrayal in the first place?
Based on the semantics extracted from within the poem (fusion of the body and soul, passage of time, inevitability of death…) Salma becomes a diva that has been betrayed by no one but herself. She has been betrayed by the irreversible element of time. She looks at herself in the mirror and does not recognize her old self. She awaits death. An old woman looking back at her glamorous young years expresses “saudade”. A young one dreading her old days, there lies the conflict.
Fuad Kurani & Shirin ‘Abali
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