Ahmed Fat’hi Honored [Archives:1998/09/Last Page]

March 1 1998

Ahmed Fat’hi is a musician, singer, composer, and now with his upcoming Masters degree a musicologist. Aftergraduating with a BA. in music from the High Institute of Arab Music, Egypt in 1980, Fat’hi had to leave Yemen to pursue his musical career in the United Arab Emirates. Ahmed Fat’hi, around thirty, has written a large number of musical compositions for a whole host of love songs and patriotic poems.
He has recently visited Yemen to attend his official honoring ceremony in Sanaa. On this occasion, Dr. Salah Haddash, Yemen Times Managing Editor, met Mr. Fat’hi to talk about his past achievements and future aspirations.

Q: How does it feel to be honored by your own country at last?
A: It is quite an incentive to do more. I have been previously honored by France in 1993, Egypt, Britain, the US 8 years ago, Oman and a few other Arab and foreign countries. All that have been very nice and gratifying, but to be honored by one’s own country is something completely different. The speech given by the Minister of Culture was quite emotive. It almost made me cry.
I hope all the creative people in this country are honored as I have been. I can mention many names who are all highly creative such as the great maestro Mohammed Saad Abdullah who is really a school in singing all his own.

Q: Why did you leave Yemen?
A: I left Yemen because of my love for art. Had I stayed here, I would not have been able to achieve what had in mind. I had to pursue my ambitions elsewhere. Although I left Yemen physically, the country has always remained within my soul.

Q: Doesn’t Yemen have the necessary resources to develop the arts?
A: I’d say that it is somewhat difficult to realize one’s ambitions here in this country. The general climate is just not ready. There are nor musical bands, no recording studios, no art media, i.e., all the things required to nurture a budding talent are lacking here.

Q: Are Yemeni songs known outside Yemen?
A: Yes, very much so. As a matter of fact, Yemen songs are quite popular in the Arabian Peninsula, whether performed by Yemeni or other Arab singers.

Q: How can an artistic renaissance be accomplished in Yemen?
A: The state must adopt a well-drawn plan to give great prominence to Yemeni art. Practical steps must be taken in this direction, not just empty talk. A lot of funds are also required towards this end.

Q: What are your future plans?
A: The art world is now moving toward what is called intellectual music, which we still don’t have in the Arab World. So now I’m in the process of composing some orchestral symphonic pieces in Europe. I’ll start with two works which I’ll personally finance. It’ll be pure music in which the traditional ” ud” will be the center piece. This is going to be a personal experiment in which I’ll bear the risk since record companies are only willing to do love songs and the like. These two pieces of orchestral music will be distributed as samples to record companies in Europe and the Arab World. Hopefully, someone will be enthusiastic enough to sponsor a bigger project. I’d have liked to produce a complete album, but the cost is just too high.

Q: Have you listened to any promising Yemeni singers?
A: I’m afraid that I didn’t have the chance to meet or hear of any new Yemeni singers. But I hope such new talents are supported by the Ministry of Culture and the state in general.