Abdul Karim Qadiri
Like the violin or the Arab Rababah, the Amzad is a stringed instrument made from a wooden bowl covered with a piece of a sheepskin. A wooden arm extends from the bowl-shaped part, and a string made of hair from a horse’s tail stretches between the end of the wooden arm and the edge of the bowl.
Only women play the instrument, because a Tuareg legend says that if a man plays the Amzad, the tribes will be destroyed and the people plunged into grief.
Music and singing are very important to the Tuareg. For the Tuareg, singing is like eating and drinking; they are always singing and they can’t do without it. They sing at home, when they’re fetching water, while feeding animals, in the desert, and while riding. They sing to dispel boredom and sleepiness at night in the humid summers.
Dance is also important. They love dancing and they dance when they rejoice, when they’re angry, and they treat patients with music and dance. They have a dance for every occasion, to express relief, to greet people returning from travel, for births, weddings, circumcisions, wars, and rain.
Most Tuareg women play the Amzad, and many enjoy music.