Selasa, 07 Agustus 2012


This is the story of Layla and Majnun, or Layla and the madman. It's about two young bedouin lovers who lived in Northern Arabia around 680 AD. A true story com legend is about a young man Qays ibn al-Mulawwah ibn Muzahim. He fell in love with Layla bint Mahdi ibn Sa’d from the same tribe, better known as Layla Al-Aamiriya. He used to sing her his poetry at school and follow her to her home, and word went around that he loved her and she was, well, somewhat receptive, and that was considered shameful for a respectful maiden girl and her family then, and now in many places. Qais then went and asked her father for her hand but dad refused for the very same reason; Qais had shamed tradition by writing poetry describing his love for his daughter ... and instead, dad forced Layla to marry another man she does not love :-( There upon Qays [or Qais] besieged by his unbearable passion for his beloved Layla, went mad and wandered into the desert composing and reciting yet more and more poetry, but read it again and again to himself instead, until he died :-(

... Meanwhile Lyla', living with a husband she can not stand, let alone love, became ill and died too :-( and that's when she was finally united with her beloved Qais :-( ; when she was finally laid dead to rest next to him, dead also ... and that's how they came to be together ... at long last :-( Their story of beautiful virgin love then spread as far as Iraq, made its way to persia and India , Turkey, North Africa and up to Sudan Somalia, and most probably, well, way beyond ... and the sad love story still bring tears to many eyes to this day ... :-(

At the time, many poets were so inspired, the story appeared in many works and was even told with beautiful illustrations as was the habit then in the Khamsa of Nizami. The story was also made into many films spanning the many tongues of those hearts it touched. It was even made into an opera at the beginning of the 20th century, and it was hailed as the first Muslim opera too. Although to me, it sounds more like nothing more than a sad and hopeless oprietta sung in a foreign language, or maybe this is the effect of all the sadness? Here is a small piece of a classic version, my favourite, cos it's small enough ... and, you know me, and all the classics ... :-)

... and one of Nazmi's poems, just in case you, like me, don't understand the Azrebijani singing in that clip ....
Who wanders near that palmy glade,
Where the fresh breeze adds coolness to the shade?
'Tis Majnun – he has left his father’s tomb,
Again mid rocks and scorching plains to roam,
Unmindful of the sun's meridian heat,
Or the damp dewy night, with unshod feet;
Unmindful of the forest's savage brood,
Howling on every side in quest of blood;
No dread has he from aught of earth or air,
From den or aerie, calm in his despair:
He seems to court new perils, and can view
With unblench'd visage scenes of darkest hue;
Yet is he gentle, and his gracious mien
Checks the extended claw, where blood has been;
For tiger, wolf, and panther gather round
The maniac as their king ...

If you think that clip is very small, and if you're still game, you can watch a newer version of the whole opera here, all 13 parts of it ...

The first part even shows you the audience as they go in and take their seats ... and then the opera starts ... it doesn't however show you the audience going out at the end of part 13 ...

And 13, eh? How befitting! Well, they say the story is so sad, it is a vivid depiction, or an allegory of how the human soul is always yearning to be united with the divine ... and it seems that's what happens at the end of part 13 here too! That's why you see the audience going in, but you never see them coming out! ... it's because from part 2 onwards, the immense sadness, and intense melancholy fills the whole atmosphere, it then shakes the theatre walls, and things start to fall dead on the floor ... then the theatre back staff get hit by the flying debris and die too, and when the lights go off and the curtain mechanism, curtan included, falls, the director below goes too! Dead! ... and the actors, the singers, even the passers by on the street, all die, the lot! ... then the roof finally collapses on the audience's heads, and guess what? ... yep! They die too :-( Well, of course, yes ... everybody dies at the end of part 13, that why they go in but never come out! ... and I mean Eeeverybody, Gone!! That's how intense this 'opera' is ... nobody could have been saved too, nobody! ... and then there was an earthquake ... and a hurricane ... and that's when the sky finally caved in :-(

Doom and gloom! ... and why would anyone, let alone a whole modern audience want to go sit through all this heartache and the agony? ... is beyond me! But I won't, because this kind of act is not for me! However, as you can see in those clips, people do go! ... and you wonder why first [?], then you sort of feel for them, you sort of also feel obliged to want to do something, anything, to help them, to save everybody from that awful 'Art', that agony of sitting through this sad piece to the end of part, whatever ... and so you start to think ... and to innovate!

Think, and innovate, and think, and innovate ... and hooooooop, GOT IT!

What if we make a new opera, what if we we reverse the story line ... what if it was Layla that went mad instead of Qais? Crazy! That she went mad because it was her who couldn't get Qais's attention! She had to hide her love because of those very same traditions! ... well, since there was no chance she would be allowed to run out to the desert alone, given her family's traditions, it would follow then that her father wouldn't have had to impose on her that forced marriage ... and Qays would most probably been invited by her very same father to fall in love with his crazy daughter, or not, so long as he marries her at end ... poets do like madness after all. So see, that doomed scenario of the original story would've not been destined to happen if it was Leyla that went mad and not Qais ... and instead of dying, problem solved, and Layla would've been happy living together with her beloved Qais forever after, hopefully singing him this passionately crazy, but a much happier, Yaaaa magnouuun ... tut tut tut ...
يا مجنون مش أنـا ليلـى
Ya magnoun mosh ana Leyla
Oh, madman, I am not Layla

ولا بنسمة هـواك مايلـه
Wala benessmet hawak mayla
And that love breeze did not sway me

عايزني أقول بحبك ليـه
Ayezni a'oul bahebak leeh?
You want me to say why I love you?

بحبك بـس مـش أيلـه
Bahebak bass mosh ayla
I love you without why

يا .... يا مجنون
Ya magnoun
Ya ... crazy one

ساعـة تشكـي للسمـا
Sa'a teshki lessama
Sometimes you complain to the sky

ساعـة تحـكـي للـيـل
Sa'a tehky leleel
Sometimes you tell your story to the night

لكن قلبي يا ما شاف الويل
Laken albi shaf el weel
While my heart really suffers

يامـا شــاف الـويـل
Yama shaf elweel
It really suffered

يا ... يا مجنون
Ya magnoun
Ya ... crazy one

عامـل أنـت مشكـلـة
Amel enta moshkela
You made it a problem

يعنـي لسـه محـتـار
Ya'ani lessa mehtar
It means you're hesitating

ناسـي إن قلبـي اختـار
Nassi en albi ekhtar
You forget it was my heart that chose

أيـوه قلـبـي اخـتـار
Aywa albi ekhtar
Yes, my heart chose

يا ... يا مجنون
Ya magnoun
Oh crazy one ...

... or maybe she is still sane?! Is she?

And the moral of the story is; think doom and gloom, and doom and gloom will come ... think hope, and hope will be a plenty ... and with it, contentment. Then happiness will follow ... providing you have yourself and that passion that keeps you going, at heart ....

Help yourself hope, or it is doom and gloom! ... and no, we don't want that sooo, same story, but which one is your song? ... go on, innovate, sometimes it's the same story, but 'you' make your own ending ....

Have a happy Sunday, and let's hope :-)

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Salam hangat dan mesra dari ku untuk dirimu oh Layla ku | QAIS dan LAYLA forever