Reviving the Arts at Stake
Nearly ten years ago in Bahrain, following an official directive, a group of specialists was formed to consider a proposal to revive ‘Sawt’ and ‘Fajri’, folksongs that were in danger of dying out due to societal changes and the scarcity of master and professional musicians. A specialist consultant chaired the group, which met several times.
The group made a series of recommendations that were submitted to the higher authorities for approval. The recommendations included forming a supervised Bahrain National Folklore Band composed of the most professional folklore musicians and singers and of young amateur musicians and singers. At the time, the authorities lacked the funds necessary to implement this recommendation.
At the beginning of this year, under the umbrella of Bahrain’s Royal Court, with the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalid Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Isa Cultural Center’s Board of Trustees, and in cooperation with the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature in Kuwait, Isa Cultural Center undertook an initiative to revive the lyrics of the endangered art of Sawt. Sawt reflects the Gulf people’s folkloric spirit, their deep love for music, their passion for poetry, and their enthusiasm for group performances.
Both organizations have taken steps to revive the art of Sawt and to create new songs and music by organizing a contest with monetary prizes. Kuwait and Bahrain have held joint meetings to study procedural matters, and a supreme technical committee of the GCC’s best artists was formed to oversee the contest.
A great incentive for creative young people, this Kuwaiti-Bahraini initiative proves that the leaderships are genuinely interested in reviving traditional music and enhancing national culture.
I pay tribute to Isa Cultural Center’s efforts with regards to this valuable initiative, and to the support of Ali Al Yoha, the Secretary General of Kuwait’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature, because Arab folkloric culture is in dire need of this kind of cooperation and solidarity.