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Musical Performance: The Song of Sana'a with Abdulrahman Al Akhfash
Alwan for the Arts
New York, NY
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Musical Performance: The Song of Sana'a with Abdulrahman Al Akhfash
The Song of Sana'a is essentially a poetic composition to which instrumental sounds and rhythms correspond. The closer the correspondence the more transcendent the spirit of its expression. It is one of the foremost relevant and eloquent iteration of Yemeni musical styles. It can be described as a traditional urban genre, derived from high literate and poetic traditions dating back many century, which constitutes an integral part of social events, such as the night-long wedding celebrations and the the daily afternoon gathering of friends. Thus, the Song of Sana'a is a major component of the traditional urban elite's culture, made up of musicians, poets and writers. Essential to its urban environment is the virtuosity, and agility of its performance that can equally correspond and respond in return to the mood and differential emotions of its connoisseurs. This immediacy allows the Song of Sana'a to morph, above time and space, all the while preserving the currency of its poetic nature within the novelty of its temper and inevitable reincarnation.
To surmise, the Song of Sana'a shares with other Yemeni melodic styles a reverence for the word, its aesthetics is poetry and its unique mark is contemporaneity. It is not coincidental therefore that the Yemeni dialect today, the quotidian language, is by far the closest, of all other Arab dialects, to the high formal culture of the Arabic language-fusha.

Abdulrahman Al Akhfash's performance style embodies the Yemeni tradition that most often consists of a solo singer with 'oud accompaniment, highlighting rhythms in subtly expressive ways. Renowned across Yemen as a musician and vocalist, Abdulrahman Al Akhfash has contributed significantly over the past 20 years to the natural development and enrichment of the Sanani repertoire. His delivery is expressive, occasionally euphoric, but ultimately poetic.


Alwan for the Arts (View)
16 Beaver St. 4th Fl
New York, NY 10004
United States




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