Sabah and Nelly Mazloum

This is Lebanese born singer and actress Jeanette Georges Feghali who’s better known as Sabah. She was born in Lebanon in 1927 and died in 2014. In the 1940s she was spotted by Lebanese born film director Assia Dagher who signed her for three movies. She moved to Egypt to follow her dream eventually becoming known as ‘Sabah’ (صباح), the character she played in one of her first movies. And the rest, as they say, is history. The featured dancer wearing the galabaya and hipscarf is Nelly Mazloum. Many thanks to Marianna Mazloum for the ID.
In 1960 Sabah was part of the group of famous Arab singers who sang ‘Al Watan al Akbar’ (الوطن الأكبر‎ The Great Homeland) a pan-Arab song written by Mohamed Abdel Wahab to celebrate the 1958 union of Egypt and Syria into the United Arab Republic. The singers were Sabah along with Abdel Halim Hafez, Shadia, Faiza Kamel, Warda and Nagat al Saghira. The union of Egypt and Syria only lasted until 1961 when Syria withdrew from the union following a coup in that country. There were other coups in Syria, in 1963 and again in 1966. It was the 1966 coup that bought the Assads (père et fil) to power.

Syrian bellydancers Eghraa and Fitna (1964)

This scene is from a Lebanese/Syrian joint production titled, ‘The Pearl Necklace’ (Akd al Lulu عقد اللولو) which had previously been both a tv sketch and a stage play. Released in 1964, the film starred Lebanese singer/actress Sabah, Syrian comedians Duraid Lahham and Nihad Kalai (the two men who enter the restaurant and sit at the table) and Syrian singer Fahad Balan. The dancers in this clip are ‘real life’ sisters and their stage names are Eghraa (with the headband draping over her shoulder) and Fitna. The sisters left their home in Damascus, Syria for the bright lights of Cairo in 1958. Eghraa’s real name is Nihad Alaeddin and she went on to become a well known ‘bikini’ actress while her sister Fitna seems to have only appeared in a couple of Egyptian films in the 1960s. Fitna now veils and identifies as a conservative Muslim. She no longer mentions her bellydancing past though the two sisters still speak to each other.
Trivia: (1) In Arabic the word Eghraa means ‘seduction’. The word Fitna in Arabic has many meanings but can mean ‘temptation’.
(2) Fahad Ballan moved from Syria to Egypt and worked with Farid al Atrash. He was married for several years to actress Mariam Fakhreddine who was also a star of one of Syrian comedian Duraid Lahham’s films.

Hager Hamdi (1950) هاجر حمدى

This is a scene from the 1950 Egyptian romance ‘Al Anissa Mama’ (The Young (or Unmarried) Mother الآنسة ماما) which starred Lebanese singer Sabah (1927-2014) along with Mohamed Fawzi (1918-1966) and Ismail Yassin (1912-1972). The dancer in this scene is Hager Hamdi (1924-2008).
Trivia: Mohamed Fawzi was the real life brother of Egyptian singer/actress Huda Sultan.

The Great Unknown (1960)

Any IDs for this bellydancer please? Suggestions so far have included “Zeinat Olwi wearing a wig”.  The scene is from the 1960 Egyptian film ‘Three Men and a Woman’ (Thalath (Talata) Regal wa Imra’a  ثلاثة رجال وإمرأة).  The film starred Lebanese diva Sabah along with Kamal al Shinnawi, Souad Hosni, Ahmed Farag and Abdel Salem al Nabulsi.

Nadia Gamal (1965) نادية جمال

Bellydancer Nadia Gamal and legendary Lebanese singer Sabah together in a scene from the 1965 film ‘Al Siba wal Jamal’ (Youth and Beauty الصبا والجمال ) which is set in Lebanon.  The film starred Sabah, Muharram Fouad and Nadia Gamal’s husband at that time, Lebanese musician/actor Shafiq Hashim. Nadia Gamal married Shafiq Hashim in 1958 but the marriage ended in divorce nine years later.
Depending on who tells the story, bellydancer Nadia Gamal was born Maria Kariadis in 1935 (or 1936 or 1937) in Alexandria, Egypt (or Beirut) to parents who were Lebanese (or Greek or Italian or Egyptian).  Whatever the facts, she was a wonderful dancer.  Sadly she died in Beirut in 1990 of complications while receiving treatment for cancer.
Trivia: (1) One of the film’s stars, Egyptian singer Muharram Fouad, was one of bellydancer Taheya Karioka’s 14 husbands.
(2) Shafiq Hashim was Karem Mahmoud’s band leader for several years.

‘The Great Homeland’ (Al Watan al Akbar) الوطن الأكبر‎

The title of this song is  الوطن الأكبر‎ ‘The Great Homeland’ and features singers Abdel Halim Hafez, Sabah, Shadia, Faiza Kamel, Warda and Nagat Al Saghira.  The song lyrics were written by Ahmed Shafiq Kamel and the music composed by Mohamed Abdel Wahab to celebrate the union of Egypt and Syria to form the United Arab Republic. Mohamed Abdel Wahab is also the conductor in this clip.  The union of the two nations began in 1958 and ended when Syria withdrew from the union in 1961.
The full translation of the lyrics below is courtesy of Chris in Istanbul who contributes to the Arabic Music Translation website, shukran Chris. Thank you also to Hani for reminding me to upload this…..sorry it took so long. And a bit of movie trivia: Nagat al Saghira, one of the singers in this clip, and actress Suad Hosni were sisters.
The translation of the song lyrics is as follows:
My country, my beloved
The greatest country
Its triumphs fill its life
Each day its glories grow
My country grows and is liberated
My country, my country

Abdel Halim Hafez:
My country oh angel your love is in my heart
Oh one who called for unity tomorrow
You are great, and much more great
My country, oh country of the Arab people
After you saw the beauty of revolution
From the whole universe, from all immortality

My country
My beloved country

Sabah:
You are sweet, oh glory that fills our hearts
You are sweet, oh unity, oh mosque of our peoples
Oh, infectious melody between the oceans
In Yemen, Damascus and Jeddah
You are sweet, oh victory, oh cup that saw us
You are sweet, oh sweetest melody in our lives
Between Marrakech and Bahrain
The same tune for a perfect unity

The unity of all the Arab people
My country my beloved

Faiza Kamel:
Our nation that we protect
A paradise that pleases he who makes peace
Look at Beirut after the aggression
The strength and power of the people has increased
Candles all around her
And hellfire pours upon her enemies
Where is colonialism and tyranny?
And Port Said’s story harboured enmity

The Arab people have lived and triumphed
My country, my beloved

Shadia:
My country, most precious country in the world
My country that builds with the builders
The voice, your voice is free and Arab
Oh, you whose soil is the makeup of my eye
My country, oh fortress of freedom
And you tear down slavery
No eastern or western echo
Oh, you whose love is perfume that invigorates me

You are my beloved my Arab country
My country my beloved

Warda:
My country, oh revolution against their colonialism
If we all seek martyrdom for you
Colonialism will meet its end at our hands
Not in Algeria or Oman
Fill your isles with fire that destroyed them
The stone of your mountains will combat them
Gone from the world is its time
The revolution will destroy tyranny

Nothing but the triumph of the Arab people
My country my beloved

Najat al Saghira:
My country, oh, paradise that all envy
Oh, you whose canal returned to your hands
Take from the bounty of your dam
Oh, you whose highness is in our worshipping hearts
Of its glories and wonders
And you preserve the good of the world
Make, plant and build with its light
My country whose whole life is sovereign

Country of glory, the Arab country
My country my beloved

Abdel Halim Hafez:
My country who crawls towards its triumphs
In Palestine and our rebelling south
We are a country that protects and does not threaten
Oh, you who lives a life of glory
We will complete your freedoms
We are a country that preserves and does not waste

The country of glory, my Arab country
My country my beloved.

Sabah with Najwa Fouad’s dancers (1977)

Sometimes films can be so confusing! This is Lebanese singer Sabah’s performance in the Nagwa Fouad film from 1977 titled ‘The Magic Lamp’.  The credits at the start of the film say ‘The Magic Lamp’ in Arabic ‘Al Mesbah al Sehri’ (المصباح السحري) BUT the film is listed in all the databases as being titled ‘Mirrors’. And Nagwa Fouad does dance in front of mirrors in a red bedlah during the credits, but that performance is not shown in this film. Also shown during the opening credits are the scenes where she dances on a boat but that performance is in another movie. Anyway, this film starred Younes Shalaby with guest spots by Saudi singer Mohamed Abdu, Lebanese singer Sabah as shown and Egyptian singer Hany Shaker and is basically a series of tableaus joined together by a bit of dialogue….not that there’s anything wrong with that LOL.
And all this is despite the references to magic lamps throughout this film. Ah well, what to do…..