Friday, 23 September 2011

The Sahrawi Music and Dance are Twins

Around the world there are many kinds of music and dance. In Western Sahara there is a special music and dance style that reflects the Saharawi culture and expresses their happiness, sadness, hopes and aspirations.

The Saharawi music is similar to the Mauritanian because most Mauritanians speak the same language that we speak. Our language is called Hasania. However, we have our own, more modern music. Many Saharawi songs talk about our problems, as we are refugees waiting to return to our homeland. The songs talk about women and children whose husbands and fathers went to the war and never came back. They talk about death, about life in the refugee camps, about religion and about asking God to help us. Some of the songs are about the uprising and the civil protests against the actions carried out by the Moroccan authorities in the occupied Western Sahara.
The songs talk about the hope to return to our homeland. When I listen to our music it makes me think about my family, my little brothers and my parent's advices. I wonder how their lives are and what they are doing. I remember the good times when I was playing football with my friends in the sand with bare feet.

When talking about Saharawi music, dancing has to be mentioned. A Saharawi singer once said that the music and the dance are twins. Trilling is also a part of the Saharawi music culture. The women trill to express happiness. They trill when their children pass the exams, when there is a wedding, when a family member or friend comes back after having spent time in another country and so on.

We have many singers in the refugee camps both men and women, old and young people. They sing for the national ceremonies and at the weddings. At the wedding parties the singer and his band plays in a big tent. This is the place where the man and the woman get married. The audience forms a circle around the middle of the tent. The singer asks two or more persons to dance. When they finish, others take over. Both men and women dance at weddings. The weddings are also good opportunities for people to show themselves as youth may find their future partners at ceremonies such as these. To attend a Saharawi wedding is an unforgetable experience and after having experienced one, you will look forward to the next. You can see the beauty of the women and the men when they dress up for the weddings and move to the music that brings them so much joy.

I really enjoy Saharawi music. It makes me feel alive. It both reminds me of my chldhood and makes me think about my future and about what I hope to be. However, it also makes me think about the Saharawi's situation and about the human rights violations that are carried out by Moroccan authorities against Saharawis everyday.

One Saharawi singer says in his song: “Salam, Salam where is Salam... hoping to live in peace that will hopefully spread not only to my country, but to all.”

Article by Iwaly Dadi February 2010


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