Social & Community

The Yemeni Songs of Women

women songs

Ahlam Al-Maqaleh

Among beautiful and authentic Yemeni songs, there are many important singers. These names remained prominent until today through chanting their songs in various Yemeni occasions.

Three women have offered a lot for Yemeni songs, ignoring many traditions and neglect faced in their careers. In this report, we try to retrieve memories through narrating their biography as an honor for their achievements.

Nabaat Ahmed was the first Yemeni woman who played the lute. She participated with many female singers in creating the word and the tone of Yemeni songs.

She began singing when she was 12 years in 1973, affected by her older sister Rawda Ahmed and her husband Ahmed Saleh al-Abrash, who taught her to play the lute.

Nabaat became famous through her song Baez Allial, which was spread in 95 cassettes at that time. Her first emergence was in the 80s when she recorded a cassette in East Theater in Taiz and sang for the Yemeni famous singer Al-Ansi.

In the beginning of her career she also sang for a number of great singers sang her own songs.

Nabaat participated in many concerts inside and outside Yemen, which help her to be famous. She sang with singers Faiza Ahmed, Ayoub Tarish, and Faisal Alawi in different provinces.

Regarding her influence outside Yemen, she performed in the Gulf States. Her first concert was in Kuwait, then in a festival in Qatar and Bahrain. She held a special musical party for women in Riyadh.

Nabaat’s singing in the Gulf States was forbidden at that time. The expatriates, who attended her concerts, were afraid of parties that attack female singers.

Despite the difficulties that Nabaat faced in her career, she put her mark on the Yemeni singing world.

Takeeh al-Taiwalah, another singer, began singing before the revolution against the Imam in Sana’a.

According to her, she sang with the famous deceased singer Ali Abdullah Al-Samah before she became a singer. Al-Samah was her neighbor. She learned from him a lot, as well as from singer Mohammed Hamoud al-Harthi.

“In one occasion, al-Harthi’s mother heard me singing. She loved my voice and suggested I go to her son and learn more about singing. In the beginning, I refused, fearing my family, but then I went to him and I learned how to sing well with the lute,” she added.

Takeeh began her career with a female singer who was singing with drums and Takeeh with an iron dish and spoon.

They continued singing together in the female weddings for three years. After that, Takeeh decided to sing alone. “I bought my own drum. The first wedding I sang in was in old Sana’a. I was very afraid but everything was great and they paid me,” she explained.

Takeeh continued singing in weddings, trying to mix between old and new songs. She sang for the Imam’s wives. They were closing the windows with pillows to prevent the soldiers hearing anything. According to her, singing in the Imam era was forbidden.

Takeeh recorded about 21 albums. Her first travel was to Djibouti. She also sang in Abu Dhabi, America, Britain, the Netherlands, and the Gulf.  The last concert was in France then she retired from singing.

The deceased Muna Ali wasn’t any less important than Nabaat and Takeeh. She participated in documenting many Yemeni popular songs.

She is considered one of the female singers who emerged in a time almost without female singers. She worked hard to develop Yemeni popular songs.

She was characterized in wedding songs, which are still present in every Yemeni wedding.

Muna died after suffering from different diseases at the end of her life.