House of Folklore to kick off soon [Archives:2004/760/Last Page]

August 2 2004
Arwa Abdo Othman
Arwa Abdo Othman
Photo from archived article: photos/760/lastpage1_2
Photo from archived article: photos/760/lastpage1_2
Located at Bab al-Balaka zone in Sana'a, the House of Folklore (HF), the first of its kind in Yemen, would be kicked off during the coming few days, announced Arwa Abdo Othman, HF director.
The HF, which comes as an outcome of the personal interest and zeal of Mrs. Othman in the Yemeni material and spiritual folk heritage, is meant to preserve this folkloric heritage against extinction and collapse, making it available for interested researchers.
“The idea of setting up a non-profit making cultural NGO started creeping into my mind since 1997 when I started writing on folk heritage. I have had this interest in collecting folk songs since the 1980s. I have started since then writing down and recording folk songs and proverbs,” Othman told Yemen Times. “When I was a small kid, my father used to give some money. I used to save it for buying silver. You see it was a personal interest in the beginning but now preserving this heritage has become a real concern. I more associated with old people than young ones for this purpose,” she added.
Othman is a researcher at the Yemeni Studies and Research Center and a well-known writer whose interest is focused on the folklore of Yemeni society. One can observe from her writings her use of the folkloric language.
She said that documenting the folklore is not an easy job but needs a lot of effort and finance to have a complete studio and well-trained team to work for the HF. She added that that she visited several areas in Yemen in a visit that lasted for around 6 months to film the oral folklore like folk dance, tales, weddings traditions tc “This is a part of a comprehensive project that targets all Yemen but I stopped due to lack of finance,” she pointed out.

Preserving National Identity
The HF is meant to preserve the national identity embodied in folklore since it is the stock and memory of the nation, its achievements and wisdom, protecting this heritage against misuse or distortion due to contemporary changes and developments. The new NGO aims to form a kind of scientific and categorical database of the components of folklore. It will also study folklore and its issues with the purpose of discovering its social importance and functional features, raising awareness towards the importance of preserving this heritage. Among its various goals, the HF aims to prepare a competent staff that is able to deal with folklore issues and problems through training courses and workshops. It will also conduct studies and researches concerned with folklore as well as releasing a magazine named “Memory of the Coming”. The HF is ambitious and plans to establish contacts with similar centers in the Arab and foreign countries, to exchange views and experience for the HF aims to establish a library of writings, studies, recordings and audio and lingual materials to do with folklore.

The HF activities underway include:
1- Analytical vision of the Yemeni Popular tale.
2- Women in popular proverbs
3- Seesaw traditions)seesaw songs
4- Ramdhan traditions with children in Yemen
5- Political voice in Yemeni popular proverbs.
6- Mother-in-law in folklore.
7- Women voice in popular songs.
8- Popular viewings.
9- Collecting and writing down popular songs for different occasions.
10- Sonic archive
11- Photographic archive
12- Video archive (still not completed).

HF Components
The HF is divided into 5 units:
1- Folklore library which would be a core for a first specialized folk library in Yemen
2- Collection and writings down
3- Documentation unit that would include an audiovisual and lingual folklore archive
4- Micro Museum unit
5- Technical unit.

The HF has an internet website which is underway; it is www.
It can be contacted at 481360 or at [email protected]