Questionnaire for the Artas Folklore Center by Eleni Kallimopoulou for the Medi Terra Project
Contributed by Artas Folklore Center on 08.04.2012:
1. Give a description of the music you play, including also the following information: Is the repertoire instrumental and/or vocal?
Which is the theme of the lyrics and in which language(s) are they sung?
Is the repertoire part of a specific tradition? (define geographically/ ethnically/ socially)
In which cultural context is it usually performed?
Is it religious/ secular/ mixed?
Is it danced to? Who plays/sings/dances it?
It is a kind of music using wind instruments or hands in the traditional manner to accompany the traditional Palestinian dance, the Debka, and traditional singing. No electric instruments are used. More than one instrument is used in the folklore troupe including the shababa and the yaghroul, which may accompany traditional folkloric singing or group dancing. The words to the songs are in the spoken Palestinian dialect as opposed to Modern Standard or Classical Arabic. To be more precise they are in the dialect of the area or village. (There is a surprising amount of variety in the colloquial Arabic spoken even in towns and villages in very close proximity.)
The Debka performed by the Artas Folklore Troupe has some movements which are similar to other regions but is still distinctive. There are many songs for many occasions, including religious occasions such as Ramadan, the return of pilgrims from Mecca. There are also sad songs and patriotic songs in addition to the more wide-spread joyful [wedding] songs. Sometimes the singer uses some movements to change from the song and sometimes the entire group sings such as in the Palestinian samer. [The samer is a kind of verbal dual which used to enliven village evenings. Two opposing groups try to outdo each other in improvised eloquence, at times becoming quite heated, but always end the evening shaking hands–the “peace” often occurs before the end if the groups manage to impress or flatter each other with their words]..
2. To what other type(s) of music (and/or music groups) is your music close?
Old Arabic Music
3. Which of the following definitions would best define your music (and why)? (you may choose two or three maximum) a. Palestinian
c. Middle Eastern
f. World music
g. Other (specify):
Palestinian Music speaks about popular life in Palestine expressing the joys and [sorrows?] and especially Palestinian life.
4. What type of instruments do you use? Which is their origin?
Would you also consider using electric instruments (and why)?
The Yaghgoul: is a reed instrument found in all parts of Palestine it is used for Tarb [find definition] and singing and dance. It is made of reeds[fastened by string.] Each reed is 27 by 2 centimeters. Each reed is 6 centimeters in diameter and in each of them are two holes 4 centimeters apart. In each opening a reed each 8 centimeters in length is placed with a tongue [zamara] which the player blows into to play the traditional music.
The Shababa: made of aluminum [?] and used throughout Palestine used in tarb and folk dancing. It is a cylinder [?]opened from both sides 7.5 centimeters in diameter and 37.5 centimeters in length. It has six holes. The first one begins at 5.5 centimeters from either end or the last at 19 centimeters from the end.
The Rababa Made of wood and leather and horsehair and used throughout Palestine. It is an instrument of tarb. It has a wooden frame 29 centimeters in length and 23 centimeters wide and 5 centimeters [?] high covered with goat leather on all sides and in its central axis is a wooden stick 36 centimeters fasted to a wooden frame and it is a handle and on the facing side is a screw to which is fastened the string and the other side of the string is fastened on a piece of wood fastened 21 centimeters from the edge of the handle. The string is made from the hair of the horse tail. The bow of the rababa is a piece of wood 5 centimeters long [?] and its diameter is 4.5 centimeters shaped like a crescent whose two sides are connected by horse hair.
Electric instruments are not desirable because the type of music and dance the Artas Folklore Troupe presents is from a time before electricity.
5. Would you also consider including some newly-composed repertoire (and why)?
Sometimes variations are made in the dance which does not substantially change the original dance or song.
6. What type(s) of audience listens to your music?
(specify age, ethnic/national origin, economic/social status)
People of sexes and all ages, rich and poor, Arabs and foreigners attend performances.
7. Where do you usually perform? (geographic area/ venue or location/ context)
Usually the folklore is presented on stage or in nature on the ground, in festivals or at weddings.
8. Are the group members professional musicians (do they live mainly out of music)? If not, which is their main occupation?
The members of the troupe are amateur dancers and singers and musicians not specialized in music working in other fields unrelated to debka and music. [Give more details]