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Art of Tanbura ... classical Kuwaiti music art with African roots

Instrument (Tanbura)
Instrument (Tanbura)

 (Photo Feature)

By Asra Ali

KUWAIT, Oct 29 (KUNA) -- The classical art of Tanbura is a musical style which was and still popular amongst Kuwaitis especially with its danceable African beats and upbeat melody.
Having roots in African music, Fann a-Tanbura was exported to Arabia from Yemen which had contact with several African countries through the red sea, said Yousef Dokhi in his book "Kuwaiti songs".
This style of music made its way to Kuwait around 150 years ago through African migration to the what is now known as the GCC region, said Dokhi, noting that pioneers of the art, such as Ahmad Al-Roumi, Saleh Marjan, Mohammad Al-Rashed, and Yousef Farhan Al-Dokhi made Tanbura popular in Kuwait.
Regarding the instruments used in Tanbura music expert Dr. Hamad Al-Habbad told KUNA that this kind of music was based around a six-string instrument called Tanbura which pre-dates several Arabic musical instruments like the Oud.
The Tanbura player would sit on the floor due to the heavy weight of the instrument while his notation is dictated by some five to six percussionists, said Al-Habbad who added that some Tanbura sessions included singers and dancers.
He said that usually Tanbura music is played with a slow beat with one or two individuals assigned to wear a sort of a dress called Al-Manjor made of goat hooves or other material which produces a sound similar to an egg shaker instrument.
Tanbura performances in Kuwait dates back to the 1800s with many delivered at public squares and open spaces back then. (end) aja.gta