Birth of the Modern Sanaani Song [Archives:1998/45/Last Page]

November 9 1998

Saleh Abdulbaqi, 
Arts Editor 

The great artist Ahmed Al-Sunaidar was born in Sanaa to a family holding a distinguished position in society and having an inclination for music, art and poetry. 
A star is born 
Al-Sunaidar appeared, as other artists, after the September 26, 1962 Revolution. The backward monarchy that ruled the northern part of Yemen forbade performing arts of any form. The revolutionary leaders supported artists and opened the way for them. 
Al-Sunaidar and the Yemeni Mouashaha: 
Al-Sunaidar excelled in Yemeni Mouashaha or Sanaani song which is in harmony with the Sanaani dialect and expressions. Only Sanaani people can understand the pronunciation of their dialect, a thing which made the Yemeni Mouashaha unique to the Sanaa region. 
Music Bands & Sanaani Songs 
Al-Sunaidar is considered to be one of the first northern Yemeni artists to travel to Cairo and Beirut immediately after the September 26, 1962 Revolution to record his songs on gramophone discs. Also, he was the first Sanaani artist to get his songs released on record. One of his most famous songs is “Ana Al-Shaab Sawt Infijar Al-Shouab,” (I am the people the voice of the people’s revolution) as well as other songs which were recorded with the help of musical bands in Cairo and Beirut. 
Aden Music Band 
Al-Sunaidar welcomed the first southern Yemeni band to arrive in Sanaa in 1966. Coming from Aden, it was lead by the famous Mohammed Saad Abdullah. Other members of the band included Ahmed Takreer – the maestro -and myself as violinist. Al-Sunaidar as well as other artists, helped the band organize its concerts at Bilquis Cinema on Ali Abdulmoghni Street in Sanaa in 1966. 
For its distinguished performances at that time, the band was employed by Sanaa Radio. 
Al-Sunaidar & Ali Sabra Modernize Yemeni Music 
It goes without saying that Sanaa has embraced a galaxy of artists who enriched the Yemeni song and were its torch-bearers. Thus, the poet Ali Sabra and some other poets managed to introduce new artistic forms that are in harmony with the Yemeni poems and lyrics. The first modernized song is “Ya Man Bahuboh Qad Balani,” (I am suffering because I fell in love with him). It was written by Ali Sabra and set to music and performed by Al-Sunaidar. 
1st Folk Arts Club in Sanaa 
Al-Sunaidar is one of the founders of the Folk Arts Club which was the first of its kind in Yemen. A former royal palace at Al-Bonya quarter was allocated for the club to conduct its activities. 
This club was established while the Aden band was performing in Sanaa. That made various artists and writers join the club; and, therefore, many artistic works were produced for great Yemeni artists. The club aimed to activate the cultural and artistic movement in Yemen. 
After Al-Sunaidar achieved a wide fame in Yemen, he was invited during the early 1970s by the Arab Music Band to Aden to give a series of concerts. 
Al-Sunaidar in Aden 
It was the first time a Sanaani artist had stood before an Adeni audience at Harken Cinema in Crater, Aden. Huge audiences came from various areas in order to watch and listen to Al-Sunaidar. Our great artist said, “I will never forget the hospitality I received from the Adeni people and I will benefit from my relations with Adeni artists in developing the Yemeni song.”Participating in South’s Independence Anniversary 
Al-Sunaidar made numerous artistic contributions through patriotic songs and participated in many celebrations in the southern part of Yemen. He recorded for Aden Radio many of his Sanaani songs as well as new poems written by Abbas Al-Mutaa, Al-Hadhrani and others.