Hyderabad: Food and music are what the soul craves, and after biryani, music is the next thing in Hyderabad that makes waves. The ‘Hadhrami Marfa’, popular under the name ‘Arabi Marfa’, is now gaining international recognition with artists from the city traveling to the Middle East to perform.
With travel restrictions relaxed in several locations, Marfa troops are traveling more to other countries to perform at receptions of Non-Resident Indian Families (NRIs) and foreigners.
âPreviously, recorded videos of marfa music were shown at social gatherings and weddings in the Middle East. Now the NRIs are calling us over there to play. All expenses are their responsibility, âsays Salam Bin Abdullah of the popular Salam Bhai Marfa of AC Guards.
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The musical instruments played mainly come from the Middle East, especially Oman and Yemen. The set includes “Kasir Mufaltah”, also called marfa or daff (kasir is also called dholak), where steel pots are struck with sticks and wooden strips called “thapi” to produce a unique sound.
âThere are no strings or wind instruments, only percussion. The instruments are double-skinned and are those used in the Middle East, especially the kasir, âsays Saber Bashar, who has been playing Arabic music for 40 years.
The Kasir Mufaltah is typically used to support the middle kasir, which is played with both hands. The bands of wood and the steel pots are struck together to add music and produce a typical rhythm. âIn fact, people are clapping their hands to produce a song. But, like pains in the palms due to the persistent applause, they started to use wooden bands â, explains Ahmed Bashar, conductor.
Arabic compositions and Bollywood acts are also popular among the crowd, says Mohammed Yousuf Ali, a member of a marfa group in Falaknuma.
Yemeni folk dances, performed with daggers and swords, are the most sought after. Wooden or plastic swords and daggers are used to ensure that no one is hurt. The entry of the piano and the plastic marfa or daff into the Arab group made the elders a little unhappy.
While previously only people associated with Yemani or Chaush community in Barkas and Siddi or Habshi community in AC Guards played the group, now many locals have also learned about it and have set up their shops in the old town.
During Nizam’s reign, music was played for festive occasions. The practice continues today during Independence Day celebrations at Golconda Fort.
The âSiddi ka Bajaâ or the AC Guard marfa led by Salam Bin Abdullah and his troop is popular among the âHadhrami marfaâ. The group is more popular because it mainly includes the descendants of the âSiddisâ who were brought to the city during Nizam VI Mir Mahboob Ali Khan.
“The Raja of Wanaparthy had offered the Nizam about 300 members who were descendants of Africa and then settled in South Arabia,” said Najaf Ali Khan, grandson of Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan, adding that the party marfa was introduced to the city. by Abdullah Bin Mohammed (Abu Pahelwan).
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