The art of Malouf in Testour: Unwritten musical heritage
Many scholars and researchers are keen to explore the richness of Tunisia’s musical heritage and to discover its origin and characteristics.
This study focuses on Malouf, Testour’s Andalusian heritage music. It is distinct because singers are accompanied by musicians playing percussion instruments, as is the case with Sufi songs.
An important part of the musical heritage in Tunisia, Malouf – which was created by anonymous musicians hundreds of years ago – has been passed down from one generation to the next. It has changed along the way, and there are now different types of Malouf in different parts of Tunisia.
For many years, a group of sheikhs taught Malouf; they knew the music by heart. Nowadays, the region’s young people are unenthusiastic about this type of music, so the few remaining sheikhs are struggling to preserve this heritage music and its melodies and lyrics.
This study attempts to provide a comprehensive picture of the Malouf of Testour, which has survived unchanged, retaining its distinctive characteristics.
We can preserve this heritage form by recording those who still perform it, and by analysing its technical characteristics.