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Popular Culture and the Performing Arts

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A website for K-12 educators featuring innovative resource on the culture, geography, history and religions of the Middle East, including essays, classroom activities, downloadable multimedia content and interactive Google Earth tours.


Mohammad Al-Harithi- I Have, Besides Hajer...

From: Harmonia Mundi Records

© Institut du Monde Arabe

This clip is 947 kilobytes in size

Running time is 4 minutes and 2 seconds

On this track the Yemeni singer and lutist Mohammad al-Harithi performs a song set to the lyrics by the poet Al-Sudi. It is an example of Homayni poetry, a lyrical form written to be sung. Descendent for an Arabic tradition often traced back to Andalusian music, the lyrics are in Yememi dialect. They are translated in Jean Lambert’s liner notes (English translation by Mona Khazindar) as follows: "I have, beside Hajer, a fawn with its neck raised [Who breaks all hearts He took my heart between Ban and La’la’l [At the hour of dusk Since he left me, I turn in circles [All night long Pity the lover who is wasting away [For him, all is mourning and sadness." The album is called "The Hour of Solomon" a reference to the time when Yemeni men, after a day of work, would gather in a room, chew a natural narcotic leaf called qat and chat about politics, society, philosophy and the issues of the day. "Then they drift into contemplation of the last rays of the sun dying down over the landscape. For them, music brings a commentary in sound to this silent contemplation. At the end of the afternoon the Yemenis live our a sort of personal experience that they call Solomon’s Hour. They remain silent, keeping the light off, staying as long as possible in the twilight, listening to the music." The music ends when the call to prayer sounds.

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