Wednesday 17 July 2019

Bahraini Folk Music Types


A musical genre built around the pearling trade, Fjijiri is the pearling crew’s most important and most popular musical contribution. According to folklore, three friends who shared a passion for music met by an old mosque in Ras Abu Subh at nightfall. As they drew closer to the mosque, they heard unfamiliar and supernatural singing, which suddenly stopped as their presence was sensed. Stones were thrown at the group to keep them away, but being a brave bunch, the friends entered the mosque anyway. There they saw demon jinns, half human and half donkey. The group’s leader demanded to know their identities, asking if they were human or jinn. “We are humans,” they responded “but we aren’t here to harm you.” The jinn leader allowed them to stay on one condition: that the three friends would never share the music with anybody. If they broke their promise, they would die. Many years passed since the strange meeting in Ras Abu Subh and the three friends continued to guard the secret, though they never forgot the musical night they shared with the jinn, singing their strange and magical songs. Death eventually claimed two members of the group. The third felt death approaching and so he made a decision to share the jinn songs with those he held dear. He gathered his loved ones and shared the Fjiri music. His death came, but the magical music heard in Ras Abu Subh now lived in the human world.

Experience the enchantment firsthand with revivals by the Galali and Bin Harban Groups


Popular all over the Gulf, Leiwa has it’s roots in African music. Cymbals, tabl, and the surnay combine in a lively performance complete with dancing.

Fan Al Sut

Popularized by renowned musician Mohammed Bin Faris in the 1930’s, this genre is a bluesy blend with a distinctive Bahraini flavor. Oud music brings to life the soulful lyrics of Sut, which often draw from poetic writings.


One of the few completely instrumental types of music, the Jirba bagpipe is often accompanied by percussions and considered a festive instrument. The instrument’s popularity in Bahrain is shared by some other parts of the Gulf, including Kuwait’s Failaka Islands.

•culled from

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