Bukhatir: Music veils the message behind the words [Archives:2007/1075/Last Page]

August 9 2007

By: Nisreen Shadad
Despite heavy rain, a large crowd of Yemenis from different governorates gathered for the Ahmed Bukhatir festival held on August 8 at 8:00 p.m. in Al-Sabeen garden. Bukhatir's sweat voice resonated in the Yemenis' hearts and overshadowed the evening's resilient thunder.

The Emirate chanter Bukhatir began his musical career in 1989 and his albums achieved worldwide fame very quickly. Bukhatir's first solo album was released in November 2001. His albums Fartaqi and Samtan had very high sales in many countries and he participated in various concerts and festivals. Bukhatir memorized the Holy Qur'an and participated in the Al-Qur'an Al-Kareem competition in Um Al Quwein in 2003.

One of Bukhatir's biggest concerts was held through a festival sponsored by the Sharjah Charity Organization. He has become very popular in the Arab world and seeks to spread Islamic thought through his nasheeds.

Bukhatir through others' eyes

“I liked him so much before he came, and I am proud of him being my brother in Islam,” Ali Ghubari, coordinator of the Bukhatir festival in Yemen, stated. For 10 years, Bukhatir sang in silence and the first time that he shared his voice with the public was by chance.

Bukhatir used to practice chanting at home, however, no one encouraged him to do so. One day while Bukhatir was with his brother Salah in the cassette recording store reading a book, he came across a beautiful poem of Ilya Abu Madhi, a famous poet. He was eager to record his voice, not to release it but merely to practice. He insisted that his brother record his voice while he was chanting and his brother eventually complied with his requests. After some time had passed, another chanter who was preparing a cassette for release stumbled upon Bukhatir's recording. He was moved by Bukhatir's voice and asked Salah to introduce him to his brother. Bukhatir was featured on the chanter's album Intasaf Al-Lail, and the album's success was due in part to Bukhatir's chant.

Bukhatir's brother is deputy of his administrative council. He is a reciter of the Holy Qur'an and likes to support art that complies with Islamic principles. Salah stated, “Bukhatir is selective. He does not seek money, but he has a supreme message to convey through his art. Bukhatir has only three solo albums released. He took his time to select the words and the tune that can effectively reach the listener's heart.”

Bukhatir does not desire to use music, but instead utilizes the tone of his voice to reach listeners. He wants those who listen to his songs to feel his words and be affected by them. Ali Ghubari, director of Ghubari Investment Group, believes in this type of art. “We have heard a lot of songs, however usually we are affected by the music and forget the words.”

The obstacles

Any experience carries with it positives and negatives, according to Ali Ghubari. The main difficulty in putting together the Bukhatir festival was financial support. “As there are many festivals held in the summer, it is difficult to find sponsors. Therefore, I opened the door for participation. The total cost of this festival was about $60,000, but I got from the participation $15,000,” Ghubari stated. The Minister of Tourism, Nabil al-Faqih, was Ghubari's last hope. “He told me, 'Do your best of collecting money and I am responsible for the rest.' He included Bukhatir's festival in the 2007 Sana'a Summer Festival.”

Ghubari launched a big media campaign in 10 Yemeni governorates, leading to a huge turnout for Bukhatir's concert.

Those who don't thank people don't thank Allah

The success of Bukhatir's festival was due to the efforts of many unknown soldiers who worked day and night. From amongst them are the Minister of Tourism, Nabil al-Faqih, and the Minister of Media, Hasan al-Lawzi, who vouched for a media group of 27 people to cover the festival without any payment, according to Ghubari. He credited the interaction of distinctive characters in the government with the festival's success.

Ghubari Investment Group was established in 2004. It has carried out numerous activities in the commercial field, investment, contracting works as well as development tourism, sales and marketing, education, and public utilities and services. Additionally, the group held the first Investment and HR Development Conference in 2005, the first shopping festival in Al-Hudaida in 2006, and also were the first to host the international Islamic scholar Omar Abdul Kafi.