Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Muhammad Juma Khan.. who planted Adenic art in the Gulf


They say that music is a universal language without nationality, it transcends peoples and nations and does not recognize borders and cultures. Thus, a musician quoting the music of another nation, incorporating it and presenting it in a new form is part of cross-fertilization of cultures.

And the musician Muhammad Juma Khan, whose biography we will discuss here, is one of the giants of singing in the Arabian Peninsula, east and west, quotes, additions and mixes, so he succeeds in providing colors of beautiful song. own melodic school, and takes the song out of its old frame into a unique and bright structure. Adeni/Hathrami sings outside his homeland from the coast of East Africa to the shores of the Arabian Gulf.

Khan’s experience is multi-faceted and highly influential, and it is worth delving into its depths, delving into its details and observing its unique features, especially as he excelled in reviving and highlighting ancient tradition. A unique and sophisticated approach unmatched by any of his peers.

Researcher Issam Kulaidi wrote about him in the “Aden Time” newspaper: “When you listen to it, the musical phrases become scenes and visual snapshots that show the identity of Mukalla and the city of Hadramout, its features, its mood, its seas. Its beaches, its mountains, its alleys and its tall and luxurious (unique) architectural buildings generally cast artistic shadows.

“Muhammad Juma Abdul Razak Khan” was born in 1903 in a village called “Karn Majid” in the Dhawan Valley of Hadhramad Governorate to an Indian father from Punjab and a Hadrami mother named “Fatima Yaslam Bahian”. The father was one of the warriors recruited by Sultan Awad bin Omar al-Kuwaiti, the Sultan of the Hadrami State of Kuwait, to establish the pillars of his rule.

He grew up in an environment where he was fond of singing and singing.His father had a passion for singing.His father had a library of Indian and Arabic recordings.His elder brother Ahmed was a melodious voice, composer and harmonica player. Another brother, Abdullah, was skilled at playing the parchment, his third brother, Abdul Qader, played various brass instruments, and his younger brother, Saeed, was skilled at the clarinet. Thus, his early upbringing in that musical environment played a role in his involvement in singing from an early age, evidenced by the fact that he was smarter and superior to his peers when he entered primary education and studied in Mugalla schools. Memorizing and composing school songs.

In 1918, he joined Sultan Al-Qaidi’s band as a musician on a monthly salary of three riyals.He learned to play several instruments under the supervision of the band leader, the Indian officer Abdul Latif. Play the clarinet. Meanwhile, the Khan loved and mastered playing the ode, and excelled in it at the hands of his compatriot “Sayd al-Abd” the singer. From then on, Ood became his companion and friend and introduced him to Hadrami Arabic. Melody by famous singer “Chadallah Faraj”.

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In the second decade of his life, the leader of the band died, so he was chosen to replace him, and he introduced Arabic music to the Sultani band for the first time, and remained so until his retirement. In 1947, after 29 years in the Sultani band, he introduced instruments that were absent in his own band, which he had then founded, for his art and to sing professionally. At that time in Hadramout such as violin, rock and percussion. Freed from the constraints of work and having his own band, his interest in the colors of Hadrami song increased, especially Hadrami Muwashsha, due to its charm and beauty.

On the other hand, religious chants caught his attention after noticing the fierce competition between its bands in Mukalla, al-Shihr and others, so he decided to go into its field to benefit financially and artistically. For this he started imitating its messages, melodies and congregations. He adapted and created many religious mantras and included musical instruments like oud.

Thus, Khan was able to establish his feet in the Hadrami soil as a singer who had no rival in terms of voice, composition and acting, and instead, his popularity spread to the expatriate Hadrami, who in turn began calling him. He is famous for singing and revitalizing their private parties, especially in various genres of song (emotional, political, social and religious).

Khan was generous in accepting this invitation. He traveled first to Kenya with his friend and friend, the great violinist Sayyid Abdullah al-Habashi, then came his second trip to Abyssinia and Somalia, and the third to Djibouti. , and a fourth trip to Kuwait, which he frequented more than once, the last time in 1960, when he stayed there for a whole month, where he conducted several wedding ceremonies and celebrity sessions. He also recorded many records for the benefit of “Bouzid Phone” company. In these countries, he held public and private concerts, which increased his fame, stardom, intelligence and audience.

According to the famous Yemeni artist Muhammad Murshid Naji in his 1984 book “Ancient Yemeni Song and Its Popularities”, the director of Radio Aden at the time, “Husayn Ahmad Al-Safi,” took advantage of Khan’s fame, so he invited him to Aden and recorded 30 of his songs. Signed a deal with him to record.

Indeed, his move from Hadhramout to Aden was a major turning point in his life, as Aden was then an open port and one of the most important centers of civilization and culture in the south of the Arabian Peninsula where he was. Since he was not active before, many admirers were attracted to him and his art, and it poured on him. Hammoud” recordings (40 discs) on consecutive discs. “Ezzi Phone” (60 discs), and “Aidarous Al-Hamid” (12 discs).

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Among the most important lyrics Khan recorded, it resonated well with the public and became popular in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula countries, as well as among the Hadhramis in Africa and Southeast Asia: “She held her hand”, “She repented. For peace he”, “O love of heart, pray for me”, and “Oh, my angel, guide your protection” and “Blink his eyes with mail of love” and “My heart loves Ghana” ,” and “Live beautiful nights,” and “I ask thee, O Ashur,” and “Thou hast tortured us, light soul,” and “Hind complained to his mother.” , and “Weary of magic from its moments … If you speak to a dead person, he will rise from the grave, “My heart will return to you,” and “Lord, will be on you, will not be disappointed in your purpose.” The tails of the wandering drag and “ Convert to Islam, my homeland , nation of men,” and “O great hope is under thy door,” and “Pray for me, for my heart is devoted to passion.” And “My beloved has made my heart taste torture. Abandonment.” , and “Oh, from afar, I love her, love me,” and “And I will satisfy ourselves” and “My eyes saved his eyes” and “O Nadim, I accept the night, so come to me.” 1951 ” “Madosh” is an old Indian song from the movie.

It is worth noting here that our artist is interested in choosing the lyrics of his songs, believing that bad and vulgar words cannot tarnish the artist’s image and destroy his dignity and pride. Evidence that he married young and assumed responsibility for his family so that any attempt to malign his name, art or reputation would not be exposed to the rumors and rumors that plague art and music people in general.

Although the man did not complete his formal education, the poetry of old and new Arabic poets, life experiences, reading, friction, his special skills and innate desire to learn helped him to select the lyrics of his songs. There is no evidence that he taught himself musical notes, so he was the foremost of Hadhramouth and Yemeni artists and wrote melodies with them unlike his contemporaries. Hardly any of them could read letters, which made them listen, verbalize and imitate.

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When Khan died in Mukalla on December 25, 1963, and was buried in Jacob’s Tomb, after two years of bedridden illness, he had married four women, only one of whom had three children. His media daughter, Afra Juma Khan, was appointed director of Radio Mukhalla in 2014, the first ever appointment of a Hadrami woman.

In a message to the Kuwait News Agency (12/12/2009) regarding the issue of planting the seeds of Hadrami singing in the Gulf, I found what Dr. Tari Al-Rasheed, who is interested in the tradition, said. Adani Art’s “mixed family background in Kuwait allowed Khan to create a new style of singing that was different from the Yemeni musical colors in use at the time. He drew inspiration from his father’s Indian heritage, some melodies, weights, and rhythmic patterns, and then classicized them. “Brushes Arabic poetry and Yemenite Khomeini poetry.” “Therefore, it is more correct to call his music Hadrami, but lovers of this color in Kuwait attribute it to Aden as a metaphor. The port of Aden is the most popular stop on the Kuwaiti itinerary.”

It is true that in the thirties of the twentieth century, Aden formed a transit station for Kuwaitis on their sea voyages to Zanzibar and Mombasa, and this was the beginning of their introduction to Adeni art, especially as Khan boarded with him. In addition to Hadrami songs, the band took to their anchored merchant ships to greet the summer sessions with songs of the Kuwaiti voice he excelled at.

Hadrami art was transferred to Kuwait and the Gulf by those merchants and sailors, and from them to Kuwaiti singers such as Abdullah Fatala, who had some popular Adenic songs recorded in the forties. Khalifa followed him in the fifties. And al-Rasheed, when he visited Kuwait in the sixties, noted that Khan planted the seed of his innovative art in Kuwait, as that period coincided with the arrival of many Yemeni musicians to Kuwait, either to settle and work there, or to record songs and liven up concerts.

However, it should be noted here that the spread of this type of song in Saudi Arabia and the influence of some of its artists predated the spread to Kuwait and its neighboring countries, not to mention the existence of a large Hadrami community in the Hijaz for centuries, both culturally and artistically, due to its social association with Hadramaut.

Pandora Bacchus
Pandora Bacchus
"Coffee evangelist. Alcohol fanatic. Hardcore creator. Infuriatingly humble zombie ninja. Writer. Introvert. Music fanatic."

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