For loved ones who have left us…
Folklorists pass away quietly every day. Narrators, archivists and other creative types, they take with them a treasure of rich memories and anecdotes, and traditional songs, poems, arts, customs, traditions and crafts passed down through the generations. These treasures have had a significant influence on Arab culture, although some of our heritage has been lost or subject to negligence. Among these departed pioneers, there are creative artists and distinguished teachers who influenced our lives and touched our hearts and souls with their vibrant and significant contributions to heritage.
We must remember the great people that we have lost. On September 12th, 2014, Death visited Dr. Saleh Mahdi, a musician and teacher whose work, music, educational efforts and writing achieved official recognition in his native Tunisia. Dr. Mahdi worked at and managed multiple organisations and art institutes; he was a member of the International Music Council and a former President of the International Organization of Folk Art.
We have also lost Safwat Kamal, who was a great support to folk culture in the Arabian Gulf; Dr. Asaad Nadim, who contributed greatly to material culture; and leading Bahraini artist Prof. Ahmed Al Fardan, a creative zither player. Al Fardan had an amazing encyclopaedic knowledge of Arabian Gulf singing and musical instruments, and of various folk arts. He was also an authority on the most prominent folklore pioneers of the past four generations.
We also remember Sheikh Muhammad bin Ali Al Nasiri, a distinguished narrator and poet and the author of ‘Tanqiyat Al Khatir Wa Salwat Al Qatin Wa Al Musafir’, a collection of early anecdotes, traditional poetry and other genres. Sadly, he passed away before he was able to publish everything that he had collected.
Austrian scholar Alexander Veigl, the founding President of the International Organization of Folk Art, and Dr. Neoklis Salis, a Professor of Folk Culture at the University of Athens and a prominent member of this Journal’s Advisory Board, will always be remembered for their knowledge and their important contributions to folk art.
By collecting and documenting resources, these people have helped to preserve heritage for future generations. We will endeavour to follow in their footsteps and continue their mission.
Ali Abdulla Khalifa
Editor In Chief