When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra

Bakhīt bir Ḳuṭrān

Bakhīt bin Ḳuṭrān was a Mahri poet, singer and musician from the 1960s and 1970s. He is credited by ʿAskarī Ḥujayrān with being the first singer of Mahri poetry to accompany himself with a musical instrument other than the large drum, known locally as the hāyer or ṭabla. Bakhīt bir Ḳuṭrān would play the mizmār in between singing lines of poetry, which he himself frequently composed. Bakhīt bir Ḳuṭrān was also one of the first performers to make use of professional or semiprofessional musicians for backup, although accompaniment in Bakhīt bir Ḳuṭrān’s case was limited to drummers. His backup band was known as “The Band of Drummers” (Firqat al-ṭabbālīn) and consisted of Khamīs bir ʿAshūra, Hidāyat bir Nāṣir, and Jumʿān bir Maṭwāna.

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