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Old 03-28-2007, 08:59 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
Back in the late 1950s, when I did a lot of folk dancing, I had several recordings of Yemenite (or Yemenite-Israeli) folk music. I just went googling, however, and no longer find those recordings.
Well, I've got news on that front - just today I managed to lay hands on a single CD with Yemeni music, and an interesting one at that - worth a little train trip so I hopped on the train to Utrecht to get it. Interesting old poet-singer accompanying himself on a "copper plate" - a percussion instrument balanced on two thumbs (from the back cover):
The plate is held in equilibrium on the two thumbs for left hand fingers to play ornamentation and right hand ones the melody: crystalline sounds and ethereal effects answering the voice.
The artist, Mohammed Ismâ'îl al-Khamîsî, seems to be one of the few to still master this old traditional instrument. Women play it as well, but in an entirely different way, according to the booklet.

As to Yemeni Jews, there seems to be only a small remnant of them left, most having been flown to Israel in "Operation Flying Carpet".

What is so tantalizing is that Yemeni music, given Yemeni history, should be a rich tapestry of Arab, African (Ethiopian), Persian, Jewish and even Hindu influences. My (German) travel guide has a chapter devoted to music which confirms this. So where are all the world music labels documenting this rich musical heritage? And it's about to be lost if not recorded now... Just the one CD I've got now (recorded in 2002 by Radio France, and published only June last year - the French are good at this sort of thing) seems to be a rare find...

I'll be on the lookout for music while there, of course.

Edit: I just found this page - unfortunately I don't read any Arabic, and most (or a lot) seems to be in apalling sound quality - but it's something at least (and recordable), though probably none of it traditional.

Marjolein Katsma
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Occasionally I am also connecting online dots... and sometimes you can follow me on Marjolein's Travel Blog

Last edited by iamback; 03-28-2007 at 09:17 AM.
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