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A Taste of Yemeni and Arabic Oud Music Posted by on Sep 21, 2017 in art, Culture, Language, Vocabulary

العُوْد ‘the oud’ is a musical instrument used in the Middle East and North Africa. Its name was derived from the Arabic word عُوْد ‘a piece of wood’ as it is made of wood. Although it is an ancient instrument, it is still very popular in many countries. In Yemen, a piece of music without oud is not music. In Yemen, each region has its distinctive touch of its melodies, and so is the case in all Arab countries. Here are is a complete I am sure you will enjoy.

السَّلامُ عَلَيْكُم .. أَوْدُ أَنْ أُحَدِثَكُم عَنْ رَحْلَتِي فِي اليَمَن، مِنْ أَجْمَلِ الرَّحَلات، مُرُورًا بِصَنْعَاء الأَبِيَّة الَّتِي تَغنَّت بِأَلحَانِهَا عَمْرَان، المَحْوِيت، صَعْدَة، حَجْة وذَمَار عِنْدَما غَنَّى اِبْنَها المُحِب عَلِي بِنْ عَلِي الآنِسِي.

Peace be upon you … I would like to tell you about my trip in Yemen, one of the best trips, passing by Sana’a the melodies of which are enjoyably chanted by Amran, al-MaHweet, Sa’dah, Hjjah and Dhamar when its loving son, Ali bin Ali al-Aansi sang (followed by a melody of Sana’a and surrounding areas).

 مَرَرْتُ فِي رِحْلَتِي بِشَبْوَة الَّتِي تَغَنَّتْ الجَوْفُ والبَيْضَاءُ ومَأْرِب بِأَلْحَانِ أَبْنَاءِ قَبَائِلَها.

In my trip, I passed by Shabwah whose tribesmen’s melodies are pleasantly emulated by al-Jawf, al-Baydha’a, and Ma’rib. (followed by a melody of Shabwah and surrounding areas).

 أَكْمَلْتُ رِحْلَتِي مُرُوْرًا بِتَعِز البَاسِلَة الَّتِي تَرَنَّمَ عَلَى أَنْغَامِهَا إِبْ، الحُدَيْدَة، وَرَيْمَة عِنْدَمَا تَغَنَّى اِبْنَهَا المُلْهَم أَيُّوْب طَارِش.

I continued my trip passing by Taiz whose melodies are chanted by Ibb, Hudaidah, and Raymah when her inspired son, Ayyoub Taarishl, joyfully sang (followed by a melody of Taiz and surrounding areas).

جَذَبَتْنِي أَلْحَانٌ دَوْعَنِيَّة مِنْ حَضْرَمَوْت الَّتِي أَطْرَبَتْ المَهَرَة بِأَنْغَامِهَا عِنْدَمَا تَغَنَّتْ حُنْجُرَة اِبْنُهَا أَبُوْ بَكْر سَألِم.

I was also mesmerized by Daw’ani melodies of Hadhramout which calmly soothe the whole of al-Mahrah when its son, Abu Bakr Salim, beautifully sang (followed by a melody of Hadhramout).

 شَدَّنِي صَخَبٌ مِنْ لَحْج الَّتِي تَرَاقَصَتْ عَلَى أَنْغَامِها الضَّالِع عِنْدَمَا رَنَّ الوَتَر – اِبْنُهَا فَيْصَل عَلَوِي.

I was also attracted by a charming noise coming from Lahj whose melodies make al-DHali’ dance so merrily when the string of oud resonated, that is its son Faisal Alawi (followed by melody of Lahj).

وَسَرَّنِي نَسِيْمُ السَّوَاحِلُ فِي عَدَن الَّتِي سَحَرَتِ العُشَّاق فِي أَبْيَن عِنْدَمَا تَغَزَّلَ فِيْهَا اِبْنُهَا المُرْهَف أَحْمَد قَاسِم.

I was also captivated by the coastal breeze of Aden which enticed the lovers in Abyan as the sensitive son of Aden Ahmed Qasim alluringly flirted with her (followed by a melody of Aden and surrounding areas).

وَقَبْل اِنْتِهَاءِ رِحْلَتِي وَبَعْدِ سُكُوْتِ النَّغَم وَحُلُولِ الصَّمْت وَإذَا بِلَحْنٍ يَأْتِي مِنْ كُلِّ الجِهَات، مِنْ شَرْقِ اليَمَنِ وَغَرْبِهَا، مِنْ شَمَالِهَا وَجَنُوْبِهَا، لَحْنٌ وَاحِد رَدَّدَتُهُ اليَمَنُ كُلًّهَا.

Before my trip ended and prior to the ceasing melodies and the inception of quietness, a sudden melody comes from all directions, from the East of Yemen, the West, the North, and the South, a single melody that the entire Yemen repeated joyfully (followed by the melody of Yemen National Anthem).

وَكَمَا تَعَوَّدْتُ فِي صِغَرِي، بَعْدَ سَمَاعِ هَذَا اللَّحْن فِي طَابُوْرِ الصَّبَاح .. أُرَدِّد: الله .. الوَطَن .. الثَّوْرَة … تَحْيَا الجُمْهُوْرِيَّة اليَمَنِيَّة .. تَحْيَا الجُمْهُوْرِيَّة اليَمَنِيَّة … تَحْيَا الجُمْهُوْرِيَّة اليَمَنِيَّة.

And as I was used to during my childhood, in hearing this melody in the morning assembly, I repeat: Allah .. the Homeland .. the Revolution … Long live our Yemen … Long live our Yemen … Long live our Yemen!

تَعَدَّدَتِ الأَلْحَانُ والأَلْوَانُ ولَكِنَّ النَّبْضَ وَاحِد.

The melodies varied and the types, but the pulsation of the heart is one.

أَنْا أَحْمَد الشِّيْبَة، وَكَانَتْ هِذِهِ رِحْلَتِي فِي اليَمَن … السَّلامُ عَلَيْكُم!

I am Ahmed Alshaiba, and this was my trip in Yemen …. Peace be upon you!

As well, Ahmed has so expertly presented melodies from every Arab country.

It takes a great deal of talent and creativity to bring the oud out of the vintage box and its deserted state. Ahmed seems to possess the enthusiasm, creativity, and talent to do just that. He has attempted to present the music of the most popular western songs using oud melodies. Here is an enchanting example:

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About the Author:Ibnulyemen

Marhaban! I am from Yemen. I am a language teacher. I teach English and Arabic. Besides Arabic and English, I speak French and some German. I have a strong flair for languages; most of my foreign language competency has been self-learning. For Arabic, I have a strong command of its formal aspects. So, if you have any question about Arabic grammar or morphology, feel free to ask any question you may have. In this blog, I will be leading you through Arabic language learning in a sequential and interactive fashion. I will focus on Modern Standard Arabic. To learn more, you can also visit my website Ibnulyemen Arabic or my facebook page.


  1. David Brenton:

    Thanks for this delightful post. The Arabic of Yemen is especially beautiful.

    • Ibnulyemen:

      @David Brenton I’m glad you found it delighting. So did I a good deal!

  2. shaks:

    According to the first paragraph, it seems that the English word “wood” meaning the material obtained from trees is actually borrowed from Arabic?

    • Ibnulyemen:

      @shaks Hmm! That never crossed my mind. It is very likely. Thanks shaks! Out of curiosity I will check on this.