Al-Salimi Never Forgotten [Archives:1998/36/Culture]

September 7 1998

There is no specific information on the life of Ahmed Abdullah Al-Salimi except the information obtained from a radio interview with his brother, Mohammed, in 1968. Al-Salimi, nevertheless, was one of the most famous singers of his time.
We could find only three of his songs performed by some old Yemeni singers. One of his famous lyrics was sung by Hussain Abdullah Soori in an Indian musical style. Another song of his, “Mal Mahboobi Nasani” (why has my beloved forgotten me), was performed by Jameel Ghanem, head of the director of the Fine Arts Institute in Aden during the 1970s. It was performed later by the Yemeni Local Band and recorded in the archives of the Aden radio.
Early in his life, Al-Salimi was known as a poet and worked as a trader. He travelled to Ethiopia where he learned singing and to playthe lute at the hands of Sheikh Mohammed Dhafer in Harar. “Dhafer is my master. He is one of the Yemeni singers who emigrated to Ethiopia,” said Al-Salimi. Al-Salimi travelled between Taiz, Ethiopia, and Mion. He used to go to Otma, his home town, only every three or four years.
In his article published in Al-Hikma journal (issue no. 25, 1975), Al-Baradoni wrote about Al-Salimi: “His moving from one area to another shows how he was spiritually – unsettled. He has to move from one place to another for some reasons like collecting zakah. Al-Salimi was a poet, a singer and a deeply religious man.”
Al-Salimi used to sing in wedding ceremonies and at the palaces of the princes of the time. He used to go secretly to sing for Prince Ahmed of Taiz, because sing-ing was forbidden by the Imam. Again Al-Baradoni had full praise for Al-Salimi. “He was very much admired by both Abdullah Al-Wazeer, governor of Odain, and the prince of Taiz. When Prince Ahmed became the ruler of Taiz, he made Al-Salimi one of his special companions.”Al-Salimi learned by heart most of the traditional Yemeni songs. He presented the old lyrics in a different and new style, which was greatly appreciated by his fans. Beside writing poetry, he had a unique talent of composing and a very nice voice, the thing that made him different from other artists of his time. Infected by T.B, he died more than 50 years ago in Aden. Some of his marvelous poems were collected in a volume by Hussain Bin Ali Al-Waisi.
Saleh Abdulbaqi,
Arts Editor,
Yemen Times