When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra

Conventional Invocation

The first three lines of an ʾōdī we-krēm krēm by an unknown poet from the inland desert. The entire text was recorded as a digital file on a cell phone belonging to a Mahri speaker from Shiḥn who was visiting al-Ghaydha in July 2008. I transferred the file to my digital recorder by placing it against the speaker of the cellphone while the clip played. I did not have the opportunity to transcribe or translate this poem in its entirety; however, I have included it here because it provides a good example of the formulaic motifs that introduce a typical ʾōdī we-krēm krēm tribal-historical poem. I have included a recording of the entire poem even though only the first three lines are transcribed below.
1) ʾōdī wə-krēm krēm / ṭeyr edōreb ḏ-ānkīt / hēl eṣāber yešśeyb
2) hēl tḏūleh emdīt / wel ḥalles teḳhōb / hīs feyṣel meġreyb
3) teġrīren b-ḥāḳwōl / yedfīfem ṭeyr eḳā / yeġyīben w-yekkeyb

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