Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Aneni - sung in the Habani style by the East West Ensemble

Whew. No blogging for me this weekend. I've been working on a research funding proposal and then had to scoot to Virginia for a meeting with a different potential funder. Sigh. I'm bushed. But I'm back.

Here's an interesting video I ran across last week from Tel Aviv's East West Ensemble (see their Myspace page for more info). The song is Aneni and was recorded on their album "Kabbalah Music". According to the video's description, the words are from the book of the "Diwan," from a poem by Rabbi Shalom Shabazi (17th Century) and the music from is from Yemen, sung in the Habani style. It's a lovely melody.

I'll admit I know very little about Yemenite Jewery and had never heard of the Habani (Chabani) Jews. I couldn't find much information about them either. Here's a short, unsupported, description I found on the blog of Robert Lindsay, an "Independent Left Journalist"
"In the late 1980's, a Jewish community, the Chabani Jews, was discovered in the mountains on the disputed border of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Although they were actually living in Saudi Arabia ... they were not citizens.

In contrast to the stereotype of the Jew as "rootless cosmopolitan", these Jews were living the life of the noble savage. They went barefoot in the desert and the men all carried long guns on their backs at all times to defend themselves in this dangerous, tribal region."
The journal "Musica Judaica" published an article in 2000 titled "Yemenite Women's Songs at the Habani Jews' Wedding Celebrations" by Yael Shai. Unfortunately, it's behind a typical 'subscribers only' barrier. (When will journals give that up. It hampers scholarship and does a dis-service to their authors and makes them precious little $)

Anyway, here it is. Let me know what you think. If you like it, you can catch more East West Ensemble videos on YouTube.

Kabbalah Music - Aneni

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