Live at the Dubai Opera

Date of release: 7 Apr, 2017

Album Cover

Tracklist + Liner Notes

  1. The Dawn

    Composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Dastgāh/Mode: Shūr-Aeolian

    ‘The Dawn’ begins our journey into the soul of Sami Yusuf’s repertoire.   Masterfully arranged, this original composition by Sami Yusuf incorporates both Eastern and Western modal systems. A seamless marriage of the Orient and the Occident (representing Sami Yusuf’s own identity), it pushes through boundaries and incorporates instruments from the eastern and western parts of the Islamic world. We hear the distinct sounds of Persia,  Ottoman Turkey, Egypt, Syria, the far east to China, then move west to Greece and Andalusia. The sounds join at times yet each individual land’s voice is heard. On this musical odyssey we perceive that the love of the sacred unites us all and that our destinies are intertwined.

  2. Al-Mu'allim

    Written, arranged, composed and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Mode: Aeolian

    LYRICS

    We once had a Teacher
    The Teacher of teachers
    He changed the world for the better
    And made us better creatures

    Oh Allah we’ve shamed ourselves
    We’ve strayed from Al Mu’allim
    Surely we’ve wronged ourselves
    What will we say in front him?

    Mu’allim

    He was Muhammad (Arabic: Peace and blessings of God be upon him)Muhammad, mercy upon Mankind
    He was Muhammad (Arabic: Peace and blessings of God be upon him)Muhammad, mercy upon Mankind
    Teacher of all Mankind.

    [Arabic:]
    Abul Qasim (one of the names of the Prophet)
    My beloved, O Muhammad
    My intercessor, O Muhammad
    The best of God’s creation is Muhammad

    He prayed while others slept
    While others ate he’d fast
    While they would laugh he wept
    Until he breathed his last

    His only wish was for us to be
    Among the ones who prosper
    Ya Mu’allim peace be upon you
    Truly you are our Teacher

  3. Mother (Arabic)

    Written, arranged, composed and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Arabic Words by Sh. Zakaria Seddiki
    Maqām: Kurd

    LYRICS

    [Arabic:]
    Mother, mother, o my mother
    How I long to see o my mother
    “Your Mother, your mother, your mother”
    Is the saying of your Prophet
    In my heart, in my dreams
    You are always with me, o my mother

    You went and left me
    O light of my eyes
    O comfort of my nights
    You went and left me

    Who, other than you, will embrace me?
    Who, other than you, will cover me?
    Who, other than you, will guard over me?
    I beg for your pardon, o mother
    Forgive me

     

  4. Pearl

    Composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words by Will Knox and Sami Yusuf
    Mode: Aeolian

    LYRICS

    I spent a thousand sleepless nights
    In wait of dreams I could not find
    I walked a thousand empty roads
    In search of signs to bring me home
    With every breath I spoke your name
    And heard it rolling in the waves
    Beneath a veil of ocean blue
    I broke illusion from the truth

    You said, walk to me and I’ll run you
    Call me and I’ll show you
    Hiding like a pearl for you
    To heal and guide you
    From deep inside you
    Hiding like a pearl for you

    And from the pulse beneath my skin
    You called me to a source within
    Where every layer revealed one more
    A secret brighter than before

    And at the heart there lay just one
    The root of all that I’d become
    I watched the surface start to break
    Free of form, free of shape

     

  5. Ya Nabi

    Arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words by Dr. Imed Nsiri
    Music: Traditional Islamic Qawwali
    Raag: Kafi
    *Originally sung by the Sabri Brothers (‘Khwaja Ki Deewani’)

    LYRICS

    [Arabic:]
    Salutations upon our Guide, the beloved, the grandfather of Hasan and Hussein

    My prophet, the quintessence of generosity,
    the Imam (leader) of the Two Holy Mosques

    Our prophet is the best of those who walk on two legs
    O You who love him, send salutations upon the master of the two worlds

    Salutations of God upon him and his family and his blessed companions

    O Prophet
    Salutations of God upon him and his family and his auspicious companions
    You have no match, no one can compare
    O my prophet, O my beloved, O sanctuary, O bearer of good tidings

    I am crazy
    Crazy for Khwaja
    [A reference to Mu‘in ad-Din Chishti (d. 1236)]

    O Prophet
    Salutations of God upon him and his family
    and his auspicious companions

  6. Fiyyashiyya

    Arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words & Music by Sidi Othman ibn Yahya Cherki (Traditional)
    English translation by Dr. Tim Winter (Abdal Hakim Murad)
    Maqām: ‘Ajam

    LYRICS

    A humble slave I am of an almighty Lord
    No work is too hard for that One who’s adored

    But though I’m a beggar who cannot afford
    To claim any strength, sure and strong is my Lord

    He says, where He wills, when He wishes a thing,
    just “Be”, and it is, by the might of a King

    The ruler whose edicts and wise rulings bring
    All blessings and grace by the might of a King

    I haven’t got the force,
    No strength between my sides
    Why feel such remorse
    when the Maker provides?

    [Arabic:]
    I’m but a humble slave, what should I worry about?
    All affairs are ordained, of this there is no doubt

    My Lord sees everything, while my sight leaves much out
    In the womb, He formed me from a drop

    O Allah, send your blessings on The Chosen One
    Our beloved Muhammad, Peace be upon him

    I’m safe in the shade of his all-knowing height
    And no strength have I — His all power and might.

    So glory to God, his bounty shining bright,
    All gratitude and praise are His due and His right.

     

  7. Māhūr Instrumental

    Composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Dastgāh: Māhūr

  8. Ya Rasul Allah

    Composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words: Traditional Islamic
    Maqām: Bayātī

    LYRICS

    [Arabic:]
    O truthful one in sayings, O Muhammad
    O pure one in character, O Muhammad
    O guide of all the worlds, O Muhammad
    O crown of God’s messengers, O Muhammad
    O best of creation, O Messenger of God

    O full moon
    Light of the darkness
    In possession of a lofty rank
    Master of the noble and generous
    Saviour of humanity
    May peace and blessings be upon you

    O Lord of Mustafa
    For the sake of Mustafa
    Forgive all sins, Guide the hearts
    O Lord, O Allah

    O Taha, O Yaseen
    O Friend of Allah
    O Beloved of Allah
    O Muhammad
    O Messenger of God

  9. You Came to Me

    Written, composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Maqām: Bayātī

    LYRICS:

    [Arabic:]
    Send salutations upon him

    You came to me
    In that hour of need
    When I was so lost
    So lonely

    You came to me
    Took my breath away
    Showed me the right way
    The way to lead

    You filled my heart with love
    Showed me the light above
    Now all I want
    Is to be with you

    You are my one true love
    Taught me to never judge
    Now all I want
    Is to be with you

    [Arabic:]
    O God
    Send Your blessings upon our leader, The Chosen One
    Upon Your Beloved, Your Prophet, The Chosen One

    You came to me
    In a time of despair
    I called on you
    You were there

    Without you
    What would my life mean?
    To not know the unseen
    The worlds between

    For you I’d sacrifice
    For you I’d give my life
    Anything,
    Just to be with you

    I feel so lost at times
    By all the hurt and lies
    Now all I want
    Is to be with you

    Showed me right from wrong
    Taught me to be strong
    Need you more than ever
    O Messenger of God

    You came to me
    In that hour of need
    Need you more than ever
    O Messenger of God

  10. Jaaneh Jaanaan

    Composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words by Ustad Babak Radmanesh
    Mode: Aeolian with allusions to Datgah-e Navā

    LYRICS

    [Persian:]
    O You whose thought seizes the heart of the young and old
    In your midst, the hearts takes flight at every moment

    You are the hope in hearts; the shelter of lives;
    The eternal light of the heavens and the earth, and the face of infinite beauty

    You have become my world, my dream, my Beloved
    Tears stream down from my eyes when I linger in thought of You

    I am at safety with You, o desire of my soul, I have no home nor name without You
    I am in darkness without You, ignorant of any direction (to take)

    Your name will never leave my tongue till I am alive
    Your loving and desirous fragrance settles my heart

    You are boundless light, eternal grace, Im a sinner but You are The Most Kind
    You are a signpost for the lovers’ hearts

    Without You, O the One who puts my heart at rest, I would be the loneliest soul in this world
    Till eternity, I will be Your most enraptured lover in this world

    I am at safety with You, o desire of my soul
    O object of my everlasting desire, the reason for the peace of my heart and mind

     

  11. Sari Gelin

    Arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    English Words by Will Knox
    Music: Traditional Azeri Folklore
    Mode/Mugham: Shūr

    LYRICS

    I fight for a love
    Knowing it can’t be won
    Sent from a light above
    Child of our golden Sun
    O, golden bride

    I reach for hands
    Knowing they can’t be held
    Cursed by words I can’t tell
    Broken under your spell
    O, golden bride

    And like a rose
    Turning into thorns
    My love was taken
    Back to the light above
    What can I do, my love?
    Child of our Golden Sun
    O, golden bride

    A beating drum
    Searches on for your song
    Echoes will carry on
    Wondering where you’ve gone
    O, golden bride

    Is that your voice
    Caught in the mountain air?
    Leading me to nowhere
    Drifting in silent prayer
    O, golden bride

    [Azeri:]
    The ends of your long hair are not meant to be woven
    The flower-buds are not to be plucked
    O, golden bride

    What kind of love is this?
    They will not give you to me
    Oh, what can I do?
    Oh, what should I do?
    O, golden bride

  12. Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum

    Arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words and Music: Traditional Islamic Qawwali
    Additional composition by Sami Yusuf
    Raag: Ahir Bhairav

    LYRICS

    [Urdu:]
    O the Ever-Living, the Ever-Lasting One!
    O the Most-Merciful, the Beneficent
    O the Just One, O the Bestower of blessings*
    O the Protecting One, the Concealing One
    O the Only-One, the Forgiver
    O the One who owns everything, who provides for everyone
    You are the Creator of all creators
    You know every secret
    O the Ever-Living, the Ever-Lasting One!
    You are the quintessence of certainty
    You are pure and immaculate
    All life begins from You
    You are the Subduer of all enemies
    Your being is eternal
    You are the solution to every problem
    You are known all over

    *In the original version, the word used here was “Dayyān” but this has been replaced to “Mannān” (The Bestower).

     

  13. Ya Mustafa

    Arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words and Music: Traditional Islamic Qawwali
    Raag: Bhairav

    LYRICS

    [Arabic:]
    O God, send Your blessings on The Chosen One
    Mustafa, Mustafa, Mustafa

    You’re our Prophet
    Our beloved
    Truly you are
    Most just and kind

    O Mustafa
    In your manners
    And in your deeds
    All the Prophets
    You did exceed

     

  14. Hasbi Rabbi

    Music: Traditional (Afghani Folklore)
    Additional Words: Ustad. B. Radmanesh, Mehboob and B. Kherigi
    Raag: Bhairav

    LYRICS

    [Persian:]
    Let’s go to the shrine o dear Mollā Mamad
    To see the tulips there, o sweet beloved
    O generous one, the lion of God, heal my pain
    Plead on my behalf before God
    let’s go to the shrine o dear Mollā Mamad
    To see the tulips there, o sweet beloved
    Let us weep and weep, O sweet beloved

    [Arabic:]
    My Lord is enough for me, Glory be to God
    There is nothing in my heart except God
    The light of Mohammed,
    God’s peace and blessings be upon him
    There is none worthy of worship but God

    [Urdu:]
    Who is the only One?
    Who is the King?
    Who is the Merciful?

    Who is the most praised and benevolent?
    Whatever you see in this world is His sign
    He’s the love of every soul

    [Turkish]
    He is the Forgiver of all sins
    He is the King of the universe
    He is the Refuge of all hearts

    O God hear my sorrows and my sighs
    Have mercy and pardon my sins
    Bless my night and days

    [Arabic:]
    O Lord of the worlds
    Send peace and blessings
    On Taha the trustworthy
    In every time and at every instant

    Fill my heart with conviction
    Make me steadfast on this way of life
    And forgive me and all the believers

  15. Mast Qalandar

    Arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words: Amir Khusro and Bulleh Shah
    Music: Traditional Islamic Qawwali
    Additional composition by Sami Yusuf
    Raag: Kafi

    LYRICS

    [Punjabi]
    The drunk Qalandar, in his drunken state*
    (Has) Only one chant – Ali, in every breath

    The generous red-robed Qalandar in his drunken state
    (a reference to the  12th century sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar)

    God has blessed countless (people)

    He has even blessed the wretched

    Whoever comes to your doorstep

    Never returns empty-handed

    Oh teacher (referring to Ali) with lofty grace

    May the darkness (within me) be purged, Oh teacher

    I have pinned my (very many) hopes in you, Oh teacher

    Grant my requests today, Oh teacher

    Oh my brother, keep saying Ali, Ali, Ali; keep on saying

    Oh my brother, Go on saying, they will (themselves) accept the truth

    If not today then tomorrow everyone will repeat Ali, Ali

    *Drunkenness here refers not to intoxication from alcohol, but to the ecstatic state of remembrance of God. As the famous verse of the Egyptian Sufi poet Ibn al-Farid says: “In remembrance of the beloved, we drank wine; we were drunk with it even before the creation of the vine.”

     

  16. Lament

    Composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words by Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi
    Dastgāh: Shūr (Āvāz-e Dashtī)

    LYRICS

    [Arabic:]
    My father be the ransom of him for whose sake I melted with anguish
    My father be the ransom of him for whose sake I died of fear
    The blush of shame on his cheek is the whiteness of dawn
    conversing with the Redness of eve
    They left me at al-Uthayl and an-Naqá

    Who will compose my distracted thoughts?
    Who will relieve my pain?
    Guide me to him!
    Who will ease my sorrow?
    Who will help a passionate lover?

    Whenever I keep secret the torments of desire
    My tears betray the flame within and the sleeplessness
    They left me at al-Uthayl and an-Naqá

    And whenever I say, ‘Give me one look!’
    The answer is, ‘Thou art not hindered but for pity’s sake.’
    My father, my father, my father

     

  17. I Only Knew Love

    Arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words by Rabi‘a al-‘Adawiyyah
    Music: Traditional Andalusian
    English translation by Dr. Tim Winter (Abdal Hakim Murad)
    Maqām: Nahāwand

    LYRICS

    I only knew love when I knew love of Thee,
    I sealed up my heart against Thy enemy.

    I stood long in converse with Thee, who doth see
    My heart’s inner secrets, but Thou I don’t see.

    My love is twin loves, yet the twain are for Thee,
    The first’s for Thy love, and the other’s for Thee.

    And as for the first, which is love of Thy love:
    Remembrance complete, not distracted from Thee.

    And as for the second: my true love of Thee,
    For Thine is the glory in all unity.

    [Arabic]
    I only knew love when I knew love of Thee,
    I sealed up my heart against Thy enemy.

    My love is twin loves, yet the twain are for Thee,
    The first’s for Thy love, and the other’s for Thee.

    And as for the first, which is love of Thy love:
    Remembrance complete, not distracted from Thee.

    And as for the second: my true love of Thee,
    I see Thou as present in all that I see.

    All praise to Thy name, and no praises for me,
    For Thine is the glory in all unity.

     

  18. Khorasan

    Composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words by Will Knox
    Mode: Aeolian

    LYRICS

    Khorasan
    I have come
    Here alone

    In my dream
    Earth and stone
    Turned to gold

    Was that you
    Long ago
    Khorasan?

    Can you guide me to the treasures I have lost?
    Can you show me every secret I forgot?
    When I came you asked me where I had come from
    You said my homeland was my kingdom all along

    Khorasan
    I must go
    Send me home

    Breathe in me
    I have healed
    I have grown

    Give me peace
    In my soul
    Khorasan

     

  19. Forgotten Promises

    Composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    English words by Will Knox
    Arabic words by Dr. Shihab Ghanem
    Mode: Ionian

    LYRICS

    Tonight the world will sleep
    But hunger will not wait
    For promises we made
    We share one soul
    We share one land
    We have one time
    to understand

    We are one humankind
    Brothers side by side
    We’ll have no regret
    We will not forget
    We are one humankind
    Sisters side by side
    We’ll have no regret
    We will not forget

    [Arabic:]
    Forgive us, O God
    Have mercy on us, O Lord
    Give your bounty to the mouths
    And keep away from them all grievances and sighs

    Our words must count
    Hunger will not wait
    For promises we made

  20. Healing

    Written, composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Arabic lyrics by Dr. Walid Al-Fitaihi
    Mode: Aeolian

    LYRICS

    It’s so hard to explain
    What I’m feeling
    But I guess it’s ok
    Cause I’ll keep believing
    There’s something deep inside
    Something that’s calling
    It’s calling you and I
    It’s taking us up high to

    Healing, a simple act of
    kindness bring such meaning
    A smile can change a life, let’s start believing
    And feeling, let’s start healing

    Heal and you will be healed
    Break every border
    Give and you will receive
    It’s nature’s order
    There is a hidden force
    Pulling us closer
    It’s pulling you and I
    It’s pulling us up high to

    [Arabic:]
    Hearts in the hand of another heart
    And in God’s hand are all hearts
    An eye takes care of another eye
    And God’s eye takes care of all

    A kind word is an act of charity
    A smile to your brother is an act of charity
    All goodness is a form of charity  
    O Lord, cure the illness and heal in a way that leaves behind no ailments

    Let’s start healing

  21. Fire

    Composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words by Will Knox
    Mode: Ionian

    LYRICS

    Peace be with you my brother, my friend
    Come join me at the fire, once again
    It bears no judgement, shame or pride
    It warms from every side
    Its light is lost without your eyes
    Come join me at the fire

    Peace be with you my sister, my friend
    The fire’s waiting for you to come again
    When you need comfort from tears you’ve cried
    It dances by your side
    It needs a partner, so dry your eyes
    Come join me at the fire

    Let it burn your troubles, clear your mind
    Watch these embers, sparks will fly
    Let it draw you closer, guide your soul
    Free your struggle in ash and smoke
    As one with others in search of truth
    Sisters, brothers, it waits for you
    Find your place at the fire, my friends

     

  22. Go (Encore)

    Composed, arranged and performed by Sami Yusuf
    Words by Will Knox
    Mode: Aeolian with allusions to Dastgāh-e Navā

    LYRICS

    And I know, know
    I must go, go
    And I know, know
    I must go, go
    I must go

    There’s just one call from my heart
    It pulls me to a world apart
    There’s just one word that I hear
    One drum, that calls me near
    When the spring has been unwound
    What is lost will soon be found

    To the call that comes from inside you
    To the light that shines just to find you
    Go
    To the drum that beats from inside you
    To the one that’s calling to find you
    Go
    And I know, know
    I must go, go
    And I know, know
    I must go, go
    I must go

    In the mirror you stare
    Your eyes are calling me there
    Your friend has taken my hand
    Guides me beyond any land

    If you’re far I’ll soon be near
    What is faint will soon be clear

    On to the drum
    To the voice of the one
    I must go, I must follow
    The spark that lights us all
    Illuminated by the call
    With one hope, with one heart I will
    Go

     

Album Description

Recorded and filmed at the prestigious Dubai Opera on the 16th of December 2016, this concert explores traditions from over one thousand years of the cultural and sacred music of Andalusia, North Africa, Arabia, Khorasan (Greater Persia) and Asia. Sung in multiple languages (including English, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Punjabi, Azeri), this exhilarating performance by the multi-instrumentalist, composer and renowned singer Sami Yusuf brings together world-class musicians from around the globe to take listeners on a musical journey of discovery.

This concert is a celebration of the sacred, intended to transform the listener with a wealth of spiritual music and poetry. Creative and imaginative, yet rooted in tradition, the sounds evoke at times exuberance and at other times meditative wonder. The hearts of performers and audience alike will be moved by the revelations found in this joining of music and poetry from worlds that are different on the surface but in whose depths there is profound unity.

The DVD (+ Audio CD) package includes 19 tracks, 4 Bonus tracks + Behind The Scenes, Exclusive Interview with Sami Yusuf as well as a beautifully designed comprehensive booklet with detailed descriptions for all songs.

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