Popular Folklore in Yemen [Archives:1998/39/Culture]

September 28 1998

In the past, folk songs were an important component of the Yemeni folk culture and it has been widespread in the countryside, where its natural origins are. Folk songs served the emotional feelings of the people through lively rhythms and tunes. Yemen, after the outbreak of the two revolutions and before unifications, witnessed several literary documneting folk literature and the songs.
Many folk poetic works were published as well as a thesis “Poetry of Ordinary People in Yemen” by Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh.
Folk Songs in Hadhramaut:
Folk songs have been widely spread in Hadhramaut in urban, rural and deserts areas. These songs vary according to the occasion. There are songs sung by camel riders on long desert journeys, during heavy rains and prevalence of peace and justice.
Musical Instruments:
The musical instruments which are used in folk songs are:
* The Ud
* The Naavy or reed flute which is now made of steel or plastic canes.
* The pipe which is made of sugarcane.
* The traditional “Hajer” and “Mirwas” drums.
A folk band usually includes five people.
Female Singers:
Female singing varies in Hadhramaut, yet a female singer used to sing along with the beats of the “Hajer” and praised the bride and bridegroom in wedding ceremonies.
Famous Folk Singers:
The most famous band that was well-known for folk songs in Hadhramaut was the Al-Baatwa band. One of the most widespread songs which dates back to 1225 After Hijra is “Ala Yater Ya Lakhdar Wen Mamsak Al-Lehlah” (oh green bird where will you settle tonight). This song was musically re-arranged in Aden in the 1970s and performed by the late Mohammed Saleh Azani.
Saleh Abdulbaqi,
Arts Editor