When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra


You’ve opted for the broadly defined genre of dāndān poem, commonly performed at convivial affairs among friends and guests, or quickly rattled off to oneself as brief couplets. Less challenging to compose than tribal odes, the topical matter—historical events of social consequence—may overlap with them. Or, released from the expectation of gravity generated by three-part (tristich) tribal ode, the topic may be more lyric or even playful. Given the relative freedom of topic, tone, and venue, your next question is straightforward:      

How much time do you and your audience have?

I’ve got the time to compose a long, coherent poem.
I have to come up with a catchy line, quick!

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