Wednesday, December 18, 2013

LAYLA'S LAMENT - God, Man, Love and the Language of Music

Layla's Lament
Oh Majnun, 
Say not that you love me, 
And Majnun, 
Say not that you care, 
For it is you 
Who has always denied me, 
So couch no lies in your words so fair,

Oh Majnun, 
Say not that you seek me, 
And in your search 
Oh how you despair, 
For I am always
There beside you, 
It is you who act 
Like I am not there,

Oh Majnun, 
Say not that you believe, 
And in your heart 
You do not deceive, 
For I am often 
The One lied to, 
Oh, how shall it be 
If I am as untrue? 

Oh Majnun, 
How hollow is your smile, 
For in your life 
You mix truth with your lies, 
And the crown that you wear 
Was never meant for you, 
And the path you choose 
Will take you no where. 

A Love Story. Everyone (I assume) have heard or read the story of Layla and Majnun. About the poor love-struck Majnun who was utterly, helplessly besotted with Layla, a woman with the unfortunate condition of being someone else's wife. Uh oh. Trouble.

Adam, my nephew, recording Layla's Lament first rough (very rough) cut.
We have passed it on to our singer and composer friend, Azri to flesh out
the song and add a little sparkle. 

God and Man. The story of Layla and Majnun was also read and interpreted as a parable of the love between Man and God. And it is in this context that Layla's Lament was written, way back in 21st November 2005. The date was in fact its original title, and just to add another level of myopia, the poem also had a second name, being 'Qubruz Bluez 2'. So Layla's Lament is its third and final (let's hope so!) incarnation.

I am forced to this rare change because the poem is being adapted for music, and let's face it... '21st November 2005 (Qubruz Bluez 2)' is a little long and vague for a song title. I am no musician, but with a little help from some very gifted friends, we hope to have an acceptable song within the next couple of months. 

My Infidelity. And I guess this is where I must confess... that I have been spending a lot of my free time working on the lyric and music for Layla's Lament. I am having an adulterous affair with music, leaving this almanac untouched for days on end. And it is not just Layla... but many, many other songs and prose, including instrumentals that have torn my attention away from my writing. I have been a bad, bad boy.

But to be honest... At 43, I am thankful to God Almighty and the Prophet (saws) for giving me another chance. Reawakening an ancient passion to fill my days. For I am enjoying becoming a student once again... learning the language of music, making my first untutored, awkward steps to God-knows-what-end. And finding the infinite space in the syllable of each word that is uttered or sang with love. 

184. Cathedral of Beauty
If Layla had not sent Majnun to guide us,
How long would we stray still in the temples of lesser devotions,
Never to set foot in the Cathedral of Beauty?

I have the story already, you see. Thousands upon thousands. But now I want someone to sing it!

Wish me luck, sunshine, in this new adventure, and for those still yet unknown who will be my travelling companions in this journey.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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