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Oman: Traditional Arts of the Sultanate of Oman

Various Artists
Oman: Traditional Arts of the Sultanate of Oman

In the 19th century, Oman extended into parts of the East African coast, along the Arabian Gulf, and on the Makran coast of what is now Pakistan. Although the country’s borders are smaller today, the culture retains many influences from its former African, Asian, and Arabian territories and its location on major trade routes. In addition, the Sultan's court and government entities, including national television, play important roles as patrons of the performing arts.

The musicians on this album are professional or semi-professional, but historically, social music in Oman was performed by slaves or servants. Traditionally, there were many occasions for musical performance beyond life-cycle rituals and prayers, but some, such as communal manual labor, have lapsed into irrelevance with the modernization of Oman in the 1970s, according to the liner notes. The recordings on this album, made by Dieter Christensen in 1990 and 1991, range from chanting poetry and sword dances (razhah) to praise poetry and sailor songs, representing the country’s rich heritage and regional variations.

Please enjoy a free download of the song “Bar’ah (Dance of Youth)” by The Firqat Khalfan

Bar’ah (Dance of Youth)MP3 FLAC

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available, including a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track Listing

Taghrud (Camel song) Shaykh Musallim bin Tafal al Mas'hali 5:03
Azi (Praise song) n/a 5:05
Razhah qasafiyah (Dance with weapons) n/a 5:12
Wahhabiyah (Dance with weapons) Majis al-Shamaliyah 5:23
Lewah (Dance with the oboe) Sulayman bin Walid Mawlah al-'Ajami 5:02
Malid (Praising the Prophet) Muhammed bin 'Ali bin Yusif al-Sidrani 12:26
Tamburah (Voice of the lyre) Hadid bin Jum'ah al-Farsi 8:24
Shubani (Songs of the sailors) Club "Progress" of 'Aybah ensemble 3:30
Haryabuh (Pleading for safe return) Hadid bin Shamsah ensemble 7:45
Sharh (Songs of happiness) Hadid bin Shamsah ensemble 4:47
Bar'ah (Dance of youth) The Firqat Khalfan 3:45