Yahya Al-Aruma: “Singer par excellence.” [Archives:1999/52/Culture]

December 28 1999

Yahya Al-Aruma is one of the singers who became popular at a very young age. Shortly after the 1962 September Revolution, he gained popularity through songs that expressed the aspirations of the nation.
Aruma was born to a peasant family of Bani Matar, Sanaa, in 1950. His father, Saleh worked as an officer in the army of Imam.
Aruma worked with the armed forces after completing his secondary school. But, the arts, especially singing, soon occupied his time. He is known for serious artistic works and has contributed to the promotion of the Yemeni song.
“Ever since my childhood, my major hobby was singing,” he often times explained. He used to wait impatiently for his elder brother who used to bring home the latest songs of famous Yemeni singers. The two lads waited until all their family members went to sleep, then they listened to the songs. Yahya then used to to repeat the songs alone, in a closed room.
Following the September 26 Revolution, the young man started to meet with his peers who were also fond of music, including his elder brother. They sang in groups. Soon, they noticed his talent and asked him to lead the songs. They let him sing alone with a borrowed lute. Finally, he saved enough money to buy one, and started perfecting his skill.
His first appearance before an audience was in the early 1970s, when another renowned 
singer Ali Al-Sima asked him to attend a celebration at Tahreer Square. Aruma was asked to sing. The then Information Minister, Mr. Yahya H. Al-Arashy, who attended the occasion, congratulated him and asked him to join the Ministry band.
Aruma took part in various local and regional artistic festivals such as Qatar’s national day in 1982. He also rubbed shoulders with other singers like Ahmed Fat’hi, Mohammed Murshed Nagi and Mohammad Saad Abdullah – all from Aden. “I learned a lot from them,” he said.
He also participated in a festival in the United Arab Emirates in 1983. In 1985, he represented Yemen in the founding conference of the Union of Arab Artists which was held in Cairo.
Aruma sang for a lot of Yemeni poets, especially the ones who reflected the ambitions and aspirations of Yemeni society. That is why half of his songs are nationalistic and patriotic.
Saleh Abdulbaqi,
Arts Editor, Yemen Times.