When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra

ʿĪsā bir ʾAḥmad bir ʿĪsā al-Qumayrī (“ʿĪsā Kedḥayt”)

ʿĪsā Kedḥayt (b. ca. 1945, from Jāḏeb) is a highly regarded poet whose works are characterized by a lighthearted tone even when he deals with serious topics. Many of the poems that ʿĪsā related (I recorded nine poems composed by him) poked fun at his age and weight or were done in a mock-epic style; his poems always provoked laughter from his audience. ʿĪsā Kedḥayt’s comic touch belies the gravity of his social status: ʿĪsā Kedḥayt was appointed as a local judge for the district of Ḥawf under the PDRY and was famous for rendering his judgements in verse.

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