Mona Ali: wedding messenger of happiness [Archives:2006/982/Culture]

September 18 2006

Abdullatif Al-Sidiq
Everyone in Yemen knows Mona Ali, whose voice is an important requirement for wedding ceremonies. She comes without invitation and she's present at all wedding festivals. Her voice is the key to “al-qafas al-dhahabi” – the gold cage.

Most know her by voice but they don't know what she looks like. They believe her unique and specialized voice was created to celebrate their marriages. Her voice competes with and wins over the lute, qualifying her to possess music with a distinguished and unparalleled rhythm.

With its originality, her voice penetrates into the depths, announcing happiness and pleasure and repeatedly is heard across Yemen whenever there's a marriage occasion.

Ali began singing a year after the revolution erupted in Aden. She sang her first song, “Get away from me” (Khaleek Ba'eed), with singer Ayoub Tarish Al-Absi and the song was recorded on an album entitled, “Singing Disc” (Ustowanat Al-Tarab).

With a long sigh, Ali revealed that her family beat her continually because they were dissatisfied with her involvement in the arts, which was considered shameful as others looked down upon such artists.

Despite the fact that a Yemeni Artists Syndicate's branch is located in Taiz, where she is from, and Ali knows its head, she says she hasn't received any benefit from it. “Generally speaking, they care about those who are present and forget about those who are absent,” she said.

Ali was honored by Minister of Culture Khalid Al-Rowaishan during activities involving Sana'a as the Arab cultural capital. Al-Rowaishan also granted her a permanent salary, but it doesn't cover her medical expenses.

Being afflicted with illness, she began selling her household furniture, starting with the television and stereo. Other furnishings are to be sold to cover her treatment expenses.