Dar-Bet-Harban Ensemble / Mkholfi

Mkholfi is one of the eight sections of fidjeri, a vocal music sung by the pearl divers of Bahrain.

Fidjeri includes very rich repertoire, it is the most original and characteristic musical genre in Bahrain. The fidjeri is mainly vocal and involves dance movements. It is performed only by men, the pearl-divers and the voices are accompanied by clapping, drumming, small cymbals and empty water jars. A solo singer, the nahham, sings in a high register, and the choir, made up of all the other sailors, sing either an ostinato or drone-like pattern in a lower register. Based on an AB form, the mkholfi is accompanied by clapping, drumming (tus = small cymbals and tabl = drum akin to the Indian pakhavaj which is hanging from the drummer’s shoulders with a rope and is beaten either with the hand or with the stalk of a palm-branch) and jar-playing. The djahlah is a 60 cm high water jar, played by beating with open hand on the jar’s opening. This gives a muggy sound to which can be added the sound coming from scraping the jar with finger rings. The choir sings the 16/4 melody with variants in every repetition and the soloist sets an improvised part against it.

Mkholfi is taken off LP Bahrain, recorded by Habib Hassan Touma and released by Odeon, EMI in a series UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music of the World, Musical Atlas in 1979. Khamis Ben Nafel – nahham i.e., solo singer; ensemble of Dar-Bet-Harban – drums, frame-drums, cymbals and hand clapping.

Artist / Dar-Bet-Harban Ensemble
Track / Mkholfi
Album / VA ‎– Bahrain
Label / Odeon, EMI
Format / LP, Album
Released / 1979
Genre / Folk
Links / Discogs

Dar-Bet-Harban Ensemble
Origin / Bahrain
Genre / Folk
Links / Discogs