When Melodies Gather: Oral Art of the Mahra

Sād Sheyl

Sād Sheyl is an older Mahri poet and rāwī (poetry transmitter) living in the mountains above Ḥawf. A seasonal pastoralist, I was lucky to find Sād Sheyl at one of his smaller camps late at night and he was willing to recite and discuss Mahri poetry despite my unexpected visit in the middle of the night. Sād Sheyl is a prolific poet and transmitter of Mahri poetry and an excellent raconteur of stories and jokes. I recorded approximately forty minutes of Sād Sheyl reciting stories and poems, both composed by himself and by others. Sād Sheyl prefers poems in the lighter vein and recalled many poetic exchanges between himself and the other inhabitants of the coastal range of Ḥawf.

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