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UAE's Al Taghrooda: The cadences of social bonding and nomadic life

UAE's Al Taghrooda: The cadences of social bonding and nomadic life
10 Apr 2024 19:17


Conveying the cadences of desert and nomadic life, the traditional Bedouin chanted poetry of Al Taghrooda stands out as a deeply etched UAE custom.

Practiced by the Bedouins, who are renowned for their camel breeding and nomadic lifestyle, Al Taghrooda served as a means of social bonding and avenue for entertainment.

Men on camelback chanted as they traverse through desert terrains to entertain the riders and set the pace of animal movement. Eventually this art form became indispensable at weddings, campfires and festivities.

Riders improvise Al Taghrooda short poems of seven or fewer lines during journeys, repeating them alternately between two groups. Lead singer chants the first line, followed by the second line, and so on.

Also, Bedouin women are renowned for their ability to write and recite Al Taghrooda poetry.

  • UAE's Al Taghrooda: The cadences of social bonding and nomadic life

According to Dr. Ghassan Al Hassan, a Folk Literature Consultant at the Poetry Academy of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and the author of the book "Emirati Al Taghrooda", (2015) published by the Poetry Academy, Al Taghrooda is a poetic art characterised by its singular rhyme scheme, where each line of the poem shares a common rhyme that persists throughout.

Cultural Role Over the last several decades, Al Taghrooda has developed into a style of poetry that employs certain poetic meters and is now frequently presented in written or recorded form.

Poets employ it as a platform to address societal concerns, settle conflicts, and promote good neighbourly relations.

Mohammed Ibn-Hamed Al Manhali, Ahmad Ibn-Salem Bal Abda Al Shamsi, and Obaid Ibn-Maa'aded Al Nua'imi are well-known poets in the UAE.

Nowadays, Al Taghrooda deals with both traditional and contemporary topics, as it is frequently performed at weddings, honoring tribal guests, and national celebrations.

UNESCO Recognition In order to further promote this distinctive literary art, UNESCO inscribed Al-Taghrooda on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.

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