A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

Migration in Yemini Feminine Folk Songs

Issue 1
Migration in Yemini Feminine Folk Songs

Arwa Uthman — San’a

This paper asserts the fact that Yemeni feminine folk song as much as it reflects conditions of society with its changes, it is also shrouded by sadness, pain and yearning. On the other hand, it is not void of venting other sentiments such as happiness, joy and infatuation. This revelation of personal feelings seems to contradict values of a traditional tribal and pastoral society. This form, unlike other folk expressions, could not freely express the inhibited and suppressed feelings supported by some clerics, did not get fair freedom of expression.

This research indicates that Yemeni migration was a refuge from coercive circumstances such as seclusions and political and economic conditions that many sectors of the community suffered from particularly males of all ages especially the youth. At the same time, the opposite sex, is entrusted at a very early age with the care of a complex trust: the land, the mountains, the animals and overall development of an extensive family. This trust is nothing but life labor sentence, free death and wasted life between lanes, mountains and home. Songs were the substitute compensating resistance to death and extermination.

The writer points out that the moment of singing represents a distinctive mark in the life of women. It is the moment of unification with all suffering women and clinging to life against death and destruction and the everlasting machine of extermination. The fate of Yemeni woman is to marry a man to abandon her only after a week or two to leave for overseas after impregnating her and forsaking her for a decade or two. Some reports mention that abandonment may last till late in life. Men leave in their prime of youth and return to be received by the grandchildren and the wife, who was left at the age of fifteen and is now a grandmother. The exile was not only for the Yemeni man but also a more cruel and just for the Yemeni woman.

The woman lived in exile on two levels: spiritually and physically. She lived the complex estranged state with a destroyed body and soul and transformed it into a complex creature and complex mentality and lean body. A woman and a man at the same time, that is the Yemeni woman, who was stuck in the unfriendly mountains and far away roads and a chilly home.

The writer asserts that the feminine Yemeni song is no different from other feminine world songs. Tn most cases, it is solo and anonymous. It is a vent for expression of restrictions of social and cultural reality. The Yemeni woman in the mountains and old towns is the author of the lyrics and composer of suitable tunes.

Women are fascinated by lovely voice that carries with it large area of sadness to the point of crying as it is loaded with psychological charge matches the size of tragedy of desertion. The phenomenon of young Yemeni girls marrying aged men is the most dangerous problem created by migration that depleted young men and gender was upset by scarcity of males and abundance of females that made young women marry old men. These girls could be in the age of grandchildren. The singing memory is packed with images of “legitimate rape” in hundreds of lyrics revealing suffering women of brutal physical torture.

Yemeni feminine song was an existential demand and vital necessity that added a significant meaning to life. At the time, it constituted one of the prerequisites of life. Tt also constituted part of resistance against cruelty and daily torture that amounted to physical and spiritual killing.

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