Home Previous Issues Music Heritage in Yemen July 1st, The Yemeni Song Day: A Day of Celebration and Pride

July 1st, The Yemeni Song Day: A Day of Celebration and Pride

Sawt Al-Amal (Voice of Hope) – Afrah Borji

Yemeni Song Day, which falls on July 1st, is a celebration for all Yemenis, and an important occasion that embodies the importance of focusing on the diverse Yemeni musical heritage; Yemeni traditional lyrical art is the talk of Yemeni society on media and social media platforms, and celebrating it is a way to establish the Yemeni song, and contributes to bringing it out of the fragrance of the past to the updates of the present, as it is the identity of Yemeni society.

Yemeni Song Day

Yemeni Song Day was founded on July 1, 2021, by the initiative of the Yemeni activist and lyrical poet, Louay Al-Nazari, who was known for his activity in the field of music and singing with a group of artists, poets, composers, activists and influencers. The idea aims to celebrate the Yemeni song in its various regions, schools, and colors, on a specific day of each year.

The idea was launched through a post on the social networking site Facebook, in which Al-Nazari called on all Yemeni citizens and artists to celebrate the Yemeni traditional song in all its colors, which is one of the richest Arab heritages, and to work on documenting the Yemeni musical heritage and preserving it for future generations.

Government agencies, represented by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, interacted with the initiative and its goals and issued a decision to designate July 1st as a national day to celebrate the Yemeni song every year.

Ahmad Fadhl Nasir – from the Department of Culture in Lahj Governorate – says: “The leadership of the Ministry of Culture has set a specific date to celebrate the Yemeni song every year; to remind us of the importance of preserving this heritage from extinction, and to encourage innovation and creativity in the field of Yemeni lyrical art that has been absent from minds over many stages.”

This refers to the importance of celebrating Yemeni Song Day, which comes with the difficult situation that the country is going through from various aspects, including political, economic, social, humanitarian, and others. This day aims to remind the new generations of the immortality of the Yemeni traditional song, its features and aesthetics from all sides, and its widespread presence within Yemen. It also aims to update and develop some of them externally, with most of the songs performed by non-Yemeni voices. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of archiving them now that they have become an easy target for plundering by those who seek to exploit them.

The Importance of the Day for Yemenis

Ahmad Fadhl says about this matter: “The importance of this day for the Yemeni street is very weak; due to the lack of attention it receives from the concerned authorities, and the weakness of the preparations to celebrate it in the required manner, as the day passes like any other day for Yemenis, despite the budgets allocated for this type of day by the state, in addition to the lack of interest in those artists who remain from the contemporaries of the good old days and being satisfied with repetitive elements close to the leadership of the ministry, some of them inside or outside, while ignoring some artists of the good old days from the living to enrich the festivals.”

On the other hand, Murad Al-Aqrabi, an artist and composer, says: “The Yemeni song has deep Arab origins rooted in history; the Yemeni song is extensive, deep-rooted, steadfast, and has unique variables and characteristics in terms of scales and weights, as the traditional song is completed with dances that express the depth of the musical heritage in Yemen, and among those dances that are famous for the Yemeni traditional art (the dance of the Bara’, Kokabani, Shobani, Razha, the Zarbadi dance and other Yemeni dances), and singing was composed on those dances in historical periods.”

Al-Aqrabi added: “The Yemeni song will remain a continuous and unique cultural phenomenon in the world; because it does not only embody a long historical legacy but also forms a human link that brings Yemenis together and expresses their feelings. We cannot say that there is Gulf music or others because the Yemeni song is the real seed of any Arab music.”

Al-Aqrabi pointed out the importance of celebrating Yemeni Song Day for its impact on the Yemeni reality; and that its importance is very great and expresses a civilized approach to Yemeni society, and the state must direct all possibilities to preserve it and revive it. He added: “The interest in celebrating this day and devoting all the aesthetic possibilities of the authentic traditional song aims to show all the artistic capabilities and possibilities that Yemen is distinguished by artistically from a distinguished position on the local, Arab, and even global levels, and to enhance cooperation between Yemen and Arab countries in the field of preserving the musical heritage.”

Arab Nations Celebrate Yemeni Musical Heritage

Historian Shafiq Al-Ghurbani notes that Yemeni Song Day is a holiday for all Yemenis in recognition of the role of music in promoting the authentic and ancient Yemeni identity. As one of the founders of Yemeni Song Day, he takes pride in his role in establishing this important event, emphasizing the importance of this day in preserving Yemen’s musical heritage, which is a source of pride and honor for all Yemenis with its rich cultural legacy. He stresses the need for collective efforts to pass it on to future generations.

Al-Ghurbani also points out that traditional Yemeni music deserves to have a special day for all Yemenis and the Arab world. This celebration will help highlight the creativity of Yemenis in the field of music and singing, whether it’s old or modern Yemeni songs. Many studies have shown that it is the best artistic musical heritage in the local and Arab art scene.

Historian Shafiq Al-Ghurbani explained that in Arab countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Syria, and the Gulf States, they sing authentic Yemeni songs in different styles, such as Sana’ani and Hadhrami. The Sana’a style is the most famous and widespread in the Arab world. All of the Arab Maghreb now sing Sana’ani songs, both old and new.

Yemeni Song Day is a national duty to showcase the creativity of Yemenis in the field of music and singing and to celebrate the ancient musical heritage that strengthens Yemeni identity in all regions of Yemen. The least that every Yemeni can do is to appreciate those who have passed on this heritage by supporting and encouraging Yemeni artists to enhance, preserve, and maintain this unique and great legacy.

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