Language Issue

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Issue 41
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The Tabbel Kerkennah band’s role in reviving traditional wedding ceremonies in the Kerkennah Islands
Issue 41

  By Fatima Bin Humaid, Tunisia


 Anthropologists study man’s intellectual and cultural activities. In anthropology, folk music is studied in its social context as an intellectual product loaded with symbols and connotations that reflect a society’s customs and lifestyle. Folk music reveals people’s sentiments, emotions, preferences and desires, and it reflects the natural and social environments and the group’s cultural identity.

The music of the Kerkennah Islands is known for its richness and diversity. Along with songs and dances, it enriches celebrations such as festivals, circumcisions and traditional weddings; the latter is the most important social event. While the details of ceremonies and group celebrations vary from one region and group to another, music is still one of the most important components.

What role does the Tabbel Kerkennah play in reviving traditional weddings? How does Tabbel Kerkennah reflect the region’s musical identity? We observe that Tabbel Kerkennah music is much more than a performance; it is a discourse that conveys social and cultural messages. By listening to the performance, people in the region learn what it is happening at the ceremony, so the music is also a language that allows the individuals within a group to interact.

The Tabbel Kerkennah is a rich domestic musical heritage stored in the collective memory of the musicians and other inhabitants of the Kerkennah Islands.


To this day, all weddings on the Kerkennah Islands include Tabbel Kerkennah. Even people who have moved away from the islands to live in Sfax or other parts of Tunisia have the Tabbel Kerkennah at their weddings. This band is famous throughout Tunisia.