I had never heard of the Lebanese singer Samira Tawfik until Wednesday afternoon! I was invited by the Lovely Arabesque belles belly dance school to join their end of year party and I happily accepted. A lovely evening ensued with spontaneous dancing and even a debke line.
The evening also held an unexpected delight.
While standing with the other ladies on a local headland, dressed in our finery, complete with a rainbow overhead – Houda produces the most amazing Khaleegy dress I have ever seen. It was a fine purplish pink chiffon with intricate floral patterns and lines all over it. The iridescent white sequins somehow gave it an almost Polynesian feel. The dress was in near perfect condition which is quite a feat for such fine fabric covered in so many potential snag hazards! You can see the reverse side of the fabric and the hand sewing through the head hole shown in the picture.
I asked Houda where she had gotten it and she told me this story.
“The dress /thobe once belonged to a famous Lebanese singer, Samira Toufic (aka Sameera Tawfic, Samira Tawfik). She wore it on one of her Sydney concerts in the late 70’s and it was put up for auction for charity. My father the famous Lebanese sweet maker from Sydney, bid and won it..it remained in our family till now and was worn by my oldest sister at her wedding ,, one of many that brides wear on their wedding day (in a traditional Lebanese Wedding)….Samira used to love singing khaleegee songs..”
Note how the spelling of Arabic words changes eg Khaleegy to Khaleegee / Samira to Sameera this is because written Arabic does not translate directly into Written English, therefore spelling of Arabic words in English vary enormously. It’s part of what makes it so tricky to find music. The singer may be known by a dozen different spelling variations. I looked up Samira and am pretty sure I have the right woman! Here is a youtube clip of her singing
Have you ever seen a Khaleegy dress quite like this one? Comment below.