The Musical Tradition of the Kef Region
Ashraf Damaq, a Tunisian writer
Folk music is an important aspect of people's cultural traditions. Musical legacy is a composite of past experiences and the result of the cultural transmission that occurred over time. However, while this musical legacy had widespread appeal in the past, the preservation of musical heritage has waned in recent years. This is due to a variety of factors including globalisation, cultural expansion and the general openness felt by the majority of the world's people.
Therefore, in order to highlight the importance of research on folk music heritage in general and Tunisian music heritage in particular, we seek to investigate the relationship between people's overlapping cultures and their musical heritage. Hence, this is an ethnomusicologic study that attempts to shed light on the rich musical tradition that has been long overlooked.
If we look more closely at Tunisian music heritage, we find many styles and varieties spread throughout the country. Nevertheless, perhaps the most prominent is the folk music heritage of the Kef region, which remains popular among the public to this day. So, what is its secret, and which of its components contribute to its richness and continuity?
This paper aims to investigate the cultural and aesthetic characteristics of Kef region's musical heritage. This is accomplished by focusing on some of the heritage samples acquired during fieldwork, and delving into the investigation and analysis of some live and ongoing singing practises that persist to this day and that are mostly linked to the cultural components of society in Kef.
To confirm the richness of this heritage and the spread of folk singing practises and their diversity in the Kef region, we chose to divide these aspects systematically, clarifying our observations and conclusions with a hypothetical map divided into Kef’s aspects based on the frequency of types of traditional templates and folk musical instruments.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that the focus on Kef’s folklore and related musical traditions does not imply that musical heritage is limited to this area as we cannot consider it in isolation and ignore other surrounding geographical influences and factors that contributed to its formation.