A Great Yemeni Singer Balfaqih honored [Archives:2003/646/Last Page]

June 30 2003

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
The vigorous and glorious period Aden had witnessed in the 1950s and 1960s, made it a torch for thought, culture and politics. This is not restricted to Yemen alone, it extended over to the whole Peninsula and Gulf countries.
Of these eminent and creative Yemeni talents is the Yemeni and Gulf singer Abu Bakr Balfaqih who we will shed some light on in this article.
Before a couple of days, the Yemeni well-known singer, Abu Bakr was invited for a visit to Yemen by the Hadramout governor. He visited his own hometown, Tarim and then other governorates in the republic. He is one of the most well-known singers in the Arab world. He could achieve multi-dimensional success of the Yemeni as well as the Arab songs.
He started in this lovely and artistic city. He was born in Tarim, Sayoun district, Hadramout. His family is known for learning and literature. He was the only son for his father, Salem Bin Zaid. His father died, when he was several months of age. He grew up with his grandfather, his uncles, and his mother. When he went to Saudi Arabia, he married another woman and had their child, Aseel.
During the beginnings of his life, the journey of Abu Bakr was a different one. He devoted most of his life to songs. Tarim was also famous for the Islamic studies as well as for its original Hadrami arts.
In mid of 1950s Abu Bakr moved to Aden as a promising talent. He adopted education career and started teaching Arabic in al-Hundool, located in Alrazmain, Crater zone. Then he got married to sheikh Arfan's daughter from Hadramout. He had three children from her: Angham, Alhan and Adeeb. His father-in-law was a strong supporter of arts. He was well-connected to many famous singers.
Abo Bakr was at the time 20 years old. He started his artistic career as a background music player. He worked in company with Mohammed Sa'ad Abdullah, Awad al-Maslahi, etc. He was also an associate to the late Anwar Ahmad Kasem as a lute player at the beginning of his artistic career.
He continued like that till the end of 1950s.
As he could not achieve the popularity he was aspiring for, he sought for another environment where he can realize success and fame and aspiration.
He went to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia in 1963 where the Hadrami community was most concentrated. Before he left Aden he met with the great late poet Hussain Abu Bakr al-Mehdar who introduced some lovely poems to him.
Ever since they maintained contact and were a marvelous couple: one composes poems and the other sings them. During his stay in Jeddah he spread the Hadrami songs in special sessions and parties which he used to be received in audience of Emirs and high Hadrami personalities. He then went to Lebanon to record songs he had already recorded in Aden like “rasoli, qal al-muana, etc. He presented a copy of these songs as a gift to Aden TV when he visited Aden during 1965-1966. Therefore, Abu Bakr has been very influential in spreading the Hadrami songs making them prosper.
His marvelous and unique voice was a clear reason behind his success. He could achieve what many Yemeni singers could not achieve.