Ben Ali Al-Anisi, A Success Story of a Yemeni Singer [Archives:1999/44/Culture]

November 1 1999

Saleh Abdulbaqi
Cultural Editor
Ali Ben Ali Al-Anisi is one of the great singers Yemen has ever witnessed. His appearance in the world of music has paved the way for many other singers to reach the stage of stardom. If you like to know how great he is, just listen to his songs, feel the rhythm and taste the unique choice of words. In the following article I will try to shed light on his career from the very beginning with the help of an analysis made by Mr. Jaber Ali ahmad.
Singer Ali Ben Ali Al-Aanisi was born in 1933 in Sanaa. Although he was born at a time Yemen was suffering under the regime of the “Imam”, he was able to prove himself as a distinguished singer in Yemen. His melodious and sweet voice was first discovered during his singing the school anthems. When his teacher, Abdul Rahman Arrahbi, discovered the little singing talent, he adopted him. In his early days, Al-Aanisi used to sing Yemeni folklore songs which were sung at that time by the great old singers: Eqbal, Ibrahim, Mohammed Al-Mass, Saleh Abdulla Al-Antari and Ahmad Obaid Al-Qatabi who influenced him very much.
At that time, a strong desire to be like one of these great singers was growing in him day after day. Fortunately, he found himself surrounded by a group of educated patriots who were singing the suffering of their country. It was easy for our little singer to pick up those sad words and add to them a touch of hope for a better tomorrow. As he grew up, his dreams and ambitions grew as well, till he became a well known national signer before the revolution took place. Among the greatest songs of his, “Adhan Al-Fajr” (The Dawn’s Call) and “Fi Assohoul Wal Widian” (In the Valleys and Planes) are still remembered.
All his songs before the revolution were of a sad and sometimes angry tone till the success of the revolution of the 26th of September was broadcast by the radio. As soon as he heard that happy news, Al-Aanisi overwhelmed with happiness and joy. He hurried to his friend Ali Ahmad Al-Khadhar. His happiness was even greater when he found the great poet, Ali Ben Ali Sorrah, in Al-Khadhar’s house. The meeting of the three “Alis” just after the declaration of the country’s freedom marked the beginning of a new turn in the general attitude of Al-Aanisi songs. The three “Alis” decided to celebrate the happiness of freedom and liberty by presenting a Ñ- work of art. Their cooperation resulted in the great song, “Jeetana Ya Dha Al-Batal” (You’ve come at last, hero). It was written by Ali Ben Ali Sorrah, composed by Ali Ahmad Al-Khadhar and sung by Ali Al-Anisi. The song was instantly popular and was repeated by all Yemenis men and women, young and old.
After the revolution, many political attempts were made to nip the republic in the bud by organizing a number of conferences with evil intentions. Such conferences and intentions were rejected by the great national singer who beautifully expressed his sentiments through “Iradat Ommah” ( A Well of a Nation).
No doubt, Al-Anisi’s enthusiasm about the national songs resulted from his enthusiasm about the revolution. Such a revolution was enough to provide an atmosphere full of artistic inspirations. His nationalism was an everlasting spring of artistic works of various themes.
As he sang for his country, he sang for love as well. When you listen to his love songs you get the real meaning of human relationships based on mutual love and affection. His choice of diction and rhythm was unique that added a special flavour to his songs. Some of his masterpieces on the theme of love are: “Nujoum Allail” (The Night’s Stars) written by Abbas Addailami and “Alhob Wal Bon” (Love and Coffee).written by Mutahar Al-Iriani. These two wonderful songs show the unenviable artistic maturity the singer enjoyed. Undoubtedly, the singer’s greatness flew from his adherence to the classic and traditional Yemeni arts.
Although he is dead, his songs have immortalized him in the hearts of all Yemenis.