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Kifak Inta (How Are you)

Kifak Inta (How are you) is a love song about a woman meeting her first love after many years have past. In the song, the woman asks her longtime lost love how he is. She reminisces about the last time they saw each, their last conversation and what has changed since from travel to kids. She ends the song with admitting she still loves him and if he wants to come back she’s ready because it’s always be him for her.

In the first layer of the song one directly feels that bittersweet nostalgia stirred by Fairouz’s soft and sweet voice leading to a warm melancholic emotional confession of everlasting love. Through the composition of the music as well as the lyrics Ziad Rahbani ventures off from the typical love ballads, folk and socio-political songs that made both him and Fairouz icons. With a  piano beginning the song, the beat remains a little slow to conjurer that essential bittersweetness that we all travel upon when thinking of our first loves.

Yet being a Ziad Rahbani song, a person growing up in the Middle East and in particular in Lebanon, the song’s subtext is of a love lost due to war and distance. Rahbani wrote the song in 1987 and it took him 4 years to convince Fairouz to record it due to its departure from their established style. The years mentioned make the whole subtext more relevant as because the war in Lebanon was beginning to end (it ended in 1990) and people who had fled and immigrated were just beginning to come back to see their family members that remained. The fact the woman thought he was out of the country alludes to immigration during the time. Also, during these times, a lot of women did not up getting married because men were either migrating or fighting in the war. The line about her mother worrying about her also implies that the worry is not only about who she’s in a relationship with but also what the future held for most young couples during these times of war. These are  subtle ways of Rahbani reflecting what was happening in these years. The nostalgia of picking up something that was cut abruptly and these sudden emotions crashing back into lives that were suspended is what both Ziad Rahbani and Fairouz achieve in this timeless song.

(translation is after the video)

 

 

Translation:

Do you remember the last  I saw you that last year?

Do you remember the last word you spoke?

And I never saw you again

And now I see you.

How are you?

 

Remember the last night we spent at my house?

Remember that one lady you were bothered by?

That’s my mother. She worries about me

From you. Yes you.

 

How are you? People say you now have kids

I honestly thought you were out of the country (x2)

What would I want with the country

God bless the kids

How are you? Oh you

 

I get the idea of getting back with you

You’re my only; get back with you

Me and I. Oh you

 

I get the idea of getting back with you

Me and I. Oh you

 

Do you remember the last what you told me?

“If you want, stay, and if you want to leave me, leave”

I got upset then. And I didn’t interpret it that

This is you. Oh you

 

Do you want to come back?

I’ll happily take you back despite of kids and people’s talk

You’re my foundation and I still love you

I love you. oh you.

 

despite of kids and people’s talk

You’re my foundation and I still love you

I love you. oh you.

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