Queen "Mustapha" lyrics - Any Arabic speakers here?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Cymbaline, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. Cymbaline

    Cymbaline Shiny Dog

    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I've been wondering about this song forever as it's one of my favorite Queen songs, and I found the actual lyrics:

    Ibrahim, Ibrahim, Ibrahim,
    Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you.
    Hey!

    Mustapha, Mustapha, Mustapha Ibrahim.
    Mustapha, Mustapha, Mustapha Ibrahim.

    Mustapha Ibrahim, Mustapha Ibrahim
    Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you.
    Mustapha Ibrahim, al havra kris vanin
    Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you.
    Mustapha, hey! Mustapha
    Mustapha Ibrahim, Mustapha Ibrahim, hey!

    Allah-i, Allah-i, Allah-i,
    Ibra-Ibra-Ibrahim, yeah!
    Ibrahim, Ibrahim, Ibrahim,
    Allah Allah Allah-i hey!

    Mustapha Mustapha - Allah-i na stolei
    Mustapha Mustapha - Achtar es na sholei
    Mustapha Mustapha - Mochamut dei ya low eshelei
    Mustapha Mustapha - ai ai ai ai ahelei
    Mustapha,
    Mustapha,
    Ist avil ahiln avil ahiln adhim Mustapha,
    Salaam Aleikum!

    Mustapha Ibrahim, Mustapha Ibrahim
    Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you.
    Mustapha Ibrahim, achbar ish navin
    Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you.
    Mustapha, Mustapha
    Mustapha Ibrahim, Mustapha Ibrahim, hey!

    Allah-i, Allah-i, Allah-i,
    Ibra-Ibra-Ibrahim, yeah!
    Ibrahim, Ibrahim, Ibrahim,
    Allah Allah Allah-i hey!

    Mustapha Mustapha
    Mustapha Mustapha
    Mustapha Mustapha
    Mustapha Mustapha
    Mustapha,
    Mustapha,
    Vontap ist ahiln avil ahiln adhim Mustapha,
    Aleikum Salaam hey!

    I understand "Will pray for you" and "Hey!" but nothing else. :D I suspect it's Arabic or some permutation thereof, because of the "Salaam Aleikum" and "Allah", but is the rest of it real Arabic or just Freddie goofing off?

    Any real Arabic speakers on the forum who can decipher this song?

    By the way, my 5-year old daughter LOVES this song. She walks around singing, "Mustapha, Mustapha! Hey!!" all the time.
     
  2. Wallace

    Wallace Member

    Location:
    Holland
    from http://www.pemcom.demon.co.uk/queen/jazz/mustapha.trn.html

    Transliteration and translation by Mad Mark Lamki

    Some of you may remember the discussion a few months back about what language Mustapha was in. I should apologise to Majid Mirmehdi who said it was in Arabic. I said it wasn't. In fact we were both right, sort of. Some of it is Arabic, but most isn't. The Arabic is limited to names and expressions which even I, who know no Arabic worth mentioning, can translate. I knew about this at that time, but never thought about it, because I considered it so insignificant.

    Well, now I have done my best to transcribe the lyrics as accurately as I can. For the non-English parts, in order to be as phonetically consistent as possible, every time a sound appears I've used the same letter(s) to represent it. However there are doubtless some mistakes. In particular, words which I have ended with "n" may in fact end in a "d" or "m" sound; I was often uncertain. Anyway...

    Guide to pronunciation:


    Consonants are pronounced as in English except-
    dh pronounced as "th" in English "these"
    ch pronounced as "ch" in Scottish "loch"

    Vowels are as follows-
    a as in "hat" OR as in "around"
    e as in "met"
    i as in "fit" OR as ee in "seen"
    o as in "hole" OR as in "hot"
    u as in "put" OR as in "but"

    ai as y in "why"
    ei as ay in "way"

    I have made no distinction between short and long vowels except in the Arabic word "Salaam" where I have used the standard English spelling.
    OK, here goes!

    Ibrahim, Ibrahim, Ibrahim,
    Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you.
    Hey!

    Mustapha, Mustapha, Mustapha Ibrahim.
    Mustapha, Mustapha, Mustapha Ibrahim.

    Mustapha Ibrahim, Mustapha Ibrahim
    Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you.
    Mustapha Ibrahim, al havra kris vanin
    Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you.
    Mustapha, hey! Mustapha
    Mustapha Ibrahim, Mustapha Ibrahim, hey!

    Allah-i, Allah-i, Allah-i,
    Ibra-Ibra-Ibrahim, yeah!
    Ibrahim, Ibrahim, Ibrahim,
    Allah Allah Allah-i hey!

    Mustapha Mustapha - Allah-i na stolei
    Mustapha Mustapha - Achtar es na sholei
    Mustapha Mustapha - Mochamut dei ya low eshelei
    Mustapha Mustapha - ai ai ai ai ahelei
    Mustapha,
    Mustapha,
    Ist avil ahiln avil ahiln adhim Mustapha,
    Salaam Aleikum!

    Mustapha Ibrahim, Mustapha Ibrahim
    Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you.
    Mustapha Ibrahim, achbar ish navin
    Allah, Allah, Allah will pray for you.
    Mustapha, Mustapha
    Mustapha Ibrahim, Mustapha Ibrahim, hey!

    Allah-i, Allah-i, Allah-i,
    Ibra-Ibra-Ibrahim, yeah!
    Ibrahim, Ibrahim, Ibrahim,
    Allah Allah Allah-i hey!

    Mustapha Mustapha
    Mustapha Mustapha
    Mustapha Mustapha
    Mustapha Mustapha
    Mustapha,
    Mustapha,
    Vontap ist ahiln avil ahiln adhim Mustapha,
    Aleikum Salaam hey!

    AND NOW the big question...what does it all mean!
    Well, firstly I'll point out that it is in THREE languages - English, Arabic, and an unidentified language which I assume is the Parsi language.


    The English bits are obvious. "hey!", "yeah!" and "will pray for you".
    The Arabic is as follows...

    Mustapha Ibrahim is an Arabic/Islamic name.
    Allah - Islamic title of God, literally means (the)God.
    Allah-i - I think this is an exclamation like English "gosh!" or "good grief!" or "blimey!"
    Salaam Aleikum - an Arabic greeting, literally means "Peace be upon you".
    Aleikum Salaam is the correct response, literally "upon you be peace".
    "adhim" (in front of a person's name) means "great"
    "Mochamut", despite slightly strange pronunciation, is definitely meant to be the name of the prophet Mohammed.
    The rest of the song is in the unidentified language. I assume it is Parsi partly because of Freddie's family background, and partly because an Iranian friend was able to recognise about one word in ten (!) and of course the Parsis were the original Persians and their language is presumably related to modern Persian (Farsi). I have recently checked with a cousin who speaks excellent Arabic and he assured me that it is definitely NOT Arabic.

    What is the song actually about? Your guess is as good as mine! Someone suggested it might be about an Arab friend of Freddie's, perhaps from his childhood in Zanzibar. Maybe. I can't even guess, except to say that the large number of Islamic references seems significant.

    Finally, sorry this is so long! But if you read all of it, just imagine how long it took me, including repeatedly listening to the song to try to pick up every single sound...so please, I'd like some feedback. Anything will do, just tell me you read it and what you thought of it. Now I'm off for a rest!
     
  3. Cymbaline

    Cymbaline Shiny Dog

    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    So, it's probably just Freddie messing around.

    "Blimey! Good Grief! Gosh! Ibrahim! Ibrahim! Ibrahim! God, God, God, Hey!"

    That makes it even funnier! :D

    Salaam Aleikum.
     
  4. Cymbaline

    Cymbaline Shiny Dog

    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Whenever I try to Google certain phrases, like "avil ahiln", or "Achtar es na sholei", to see if I could find what they mean, all the hits I get are references to this song.
     
  5. florette69

    florette69 New Member

    Location:
    England
    Parsi isn't a language, it's a group of people; Zoroastrians to be precise, with roots in Persia (Iran) but mostly living in India. You're probably thinking of Farsi, which is quite different. Also, Arabic is not so much a language as a group of languages, including Farsi, therefore the text of this song could easily be an Anglicised corruption of an Arabic sublanguage. Probably not really worth fretting over since it is not a particularly profound song. Radio goo-goo, radio ga-ga indeed.
     
  6. PhilCohen

    PhilCohen New Member

    Freddie was a Zoroastrian,according to the documentary DVD in his posthumous 10 CD/2 DVD set.
     
  7. florette69

    florette69 New Member

    Location:
    England
    Farrokh was Zoroastrian by birth, but I don't think Freddie was an adherent. Not a fan so I don't know. Surely the only Parsi rock artist though?
     
  8. Feisal K

    Feisal K Active Member

    Location:
    Malaysia
    beg your pardon, but it is. Distinctly different from Arabic (to those in the middle east, of course. Iranians speak Farsi, not Arabic, and glib pronouncements otherwise have led to bloodshed)

    (this multilingual site illustrates the point, see the language selection bar)
     
  9. florette69

    florette69 New Member

    Location:
    England
    Yes, Farsi, not Parsi. That's what I said. I think. Nemidanam...
     
  10. RoyalScam

    RoyalScam Luckless Pedestrian

    5 bucks this posting gets flagged by the gov't. :winkgrin:
     
  11. dumangl

    dumangl Forum Resident

    Freddie had full Zoroastrian rites at his funeral according to his own detailed instructions.
     
  12. florette69

    florette69 New Member

    Location:
    England
    Cool.

    So are there any other Parsi rock musicians? Or Zoroastrians for that matter?
     
  13. dumangl

    dumangl Forum Resident

    http://www.parsimusic.com/en/

    Lists a number of musicians, some of whom look like they might possibly be rock.

    The renowned orchestra conductor, Zubin Mehta, is Parsi.
     
  14. florette69

    florette69 New Member

    Location:
    England
    Yes, I knew about Maestro Mehta. I think in terms of rock / popular Western music, the answer is probably 'no'.
     

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