Funoon Al-Yemen returns to Sana’a [Archives:2006/966/Culture]

July 24 2006
The Yemeni band in one of their dance performances in the UK.
The Yemeni band in one of their dance performances in the UK.
Najee Al-Harazi
and Paul Hughes-Smith

After participating in an international music festival, Funoon Al-Yemen band left London heading back home to Sana'a last week. Some 30 song and dance troupes from around the world participated in the festival.

The Yemeni band held several exciting dance and musical performances in London and other locations in the UK, leaving a good impression on the audience, which included Britons, foreigners and Yemeni expatriates, who kept following the band's performances.

Consisting of nine members, the band kicked off their first performance at Kew Gardens, where thousands of Londoners gathered, putting on a fantastic song and dance performance. Among performances from around the world, the Yemeni style particularly was amazing.

The Yemeni band also attended the official reception hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Durbar Court, at which all of the groups in the festival performed. However, Funoon Al-Yemen was selected to open the proceedings, dancing down the entrance steps.

The group gave a very successful concert at south London's Horniman Museum, which has one of the finest collections of musical instruments from around the world.

The Yemeni band also went to the Docklands Museum, a new branch of the Museum of London, where they entertained many children as part of an education program, ending by inviting many of them to dance, which was a heartwarming experience.

The band then moved to Regents Parks in central London, where a huge mass of revelers spent a good time enjoying the exotic art. They then traveled to Liverpool, Cardiff (in Wales) and Sheffield, where a Yemeni community is concentrated. Their UK tour was coordinated between local governments, Yemeni communities, festival organizers and the Yemeni Embassy.

A Yemeni Embassy spokesperson said the band's participation is a good initiative on the part of the Ministry of Culture and concerned authorities in Yemen because thousands of music lovers who like such festivals very much will have ample opportunity to acquaint themselves with traditional Yemeni music.

The group's participation proved a great success and doubtless has helped promote Yemeni art and culture in the UK and hopefully will encourage many tourists to visit Yemen.