Raoui راوي (Storyteller) Souad Massi

Of Algerian Berber heritage and currently based in France, Souad Massi weaves together a variety of influences (and languages!) in her music. “Raoui” is the title track of her debut solo album from 2001, perhaps hinting at her own aspiration as a songwriter to be a “storyteller.”

Oh storyteller, tell me a story يا راوي حكي حكاية
I want it to be a tale مادا بيك تكون رواية
Tell me about the people of the past حكي لي على ناس الزمان
Tell me about One Thousand and One Nights حكي لي على ألف ليلة وليلة
And about Lounja, daughter of the ogress [1] وعلى لونجة بنت الغولة
And about the Sultan’s son وعلى ولد السلطان
Once upon a time [2] حاجيتك ماجيتك
Take us far away from this world دنا بعيد من هادي دنيا
Once upon a time حاجيتك ماجيتك
We all carry stories in our hearts كل واحد منا في قلبه حكاية
We all carry stories in our hearts كل واحد منا في قلبه حكاية
Tell us a story, and forget that we’re adults حكي وانسى بلي احنا كبار
Think of us as children في بالك رانا صغار
Who would believe any story ونمنو كل الحكايات
Tell us about heaven, tell us about hell حكي لنا على الجنة حكي لنا على النار
About the bird that never learned to fly على طير اللي عمره ما طار
Help us understand the meaning of life فهمنا معنى الدنيا
Once upon a time حاجيتك ماجيتك
Take us far away from this world دنا بعيد من هادي دنيا
Once upon a time حاجيتك ماجيتك
We all carry stories in our hearts كل واحد منا في قلبه حكاية
We all carry stories in our hearts كل واحد منا في قلبه حكاية
Oh storyteller, tell it just as they told it to you حكي يا راوي حكي كما حكوا لك
Don’t add anything, don’t leave anything out ما تزيد ما نقص من عندك
We can see what’s in your mind كاين نشفوا على بالك
Tell us a story to make us forget the present حكي لنسينا في هاد زمان
Keep us in once upon a time خلينا في كان يا ما كان، في كان يا ما كان
Once upon a time حاجيتك ماجيتك
Take us far away from this world دنا بعيد من هادي دنيا
Once upon a time حاجيتك ماجيتك
We all carry stories in our hearts كل واحد منا في قلبه حكاية
We all carry stories in our hearts كل واحد منا في قلبه حكاية

[1] Lounja is the heroine of a North African folktale that is similar in its main features to the European story of Rapunzel.

[2] The phrase حاجيتك ماجيتك is used in Algerian Arabic to introduce a story, the same way that “once upon a time” is used in English. It is basically equivalent to the expression كان يا ما كان, which is used across the Arab world and also appears in this song.