Host: AL-Maidan Cultural Center
“Sanaa Song, the classical music of ”
Anthropologist and ethnomusicologist Dr. Jean Lambert is the director of the
French Center for Archeology and Social Sciences (CEFAS) in Sana’a, , a position he’s held since 2003. He has presented lectures and participated in symposia on Yemeni culture and music around the world. In addition to numerous articles and contributions to recordings of Yemeni music, he has published a book entitled La médecine de l’âme. Le chant de Sanaa dans la société yéménite (Medicine for the soul. Songs of Sanaa in Yemini society).
The art music of is based on the poetry of the country and the region. Within this, the most popular single style comes from Sana’a, ’s largest city. Traditionally, the music was performed in a roof top room lined with windows called a mafraj and the performance, which features sung poetry, is called homayni. Homayni dates back to the 8th century AH/14th century AD and includes a solo singer with an accompanist generally playing the ‘ud. Metrical patterns are based on the poetic language of the vocals and, unlike much Arabic music, rely more on the fluidity of string instruments than the rhythmic accents of drums and handclapping. The urban style of homayni, which is thriving the Yemini capital, is known as Sanaan singing.