Ya Mun Dakhal Bahr Al-Hawa (Who Enters the Sea of Passion?) by Yemeni singer Fatimah Al-Zaelaeyah, accompanied by drumming on a copper tray (a sahn suhasi) is taken off 2012 compilation Qat, Coffee & Qambus: Raw 45s from Yemen, a compilation of rare, Yemeni vinyl singles, showcasing the little-documented, evolving local music styles in the 1960s and ‘70s.
Compiled by Chris Menist, Qat, Coffee & Qambus: Raw 45s from Yemen features vintage oud and vocal music inspired by the qat-chewing, coffee-sipping, qambus-playing culture of Yemen. Although part of the classical Arabic musical tradition, the music of Yemen takes its rhythmic lead as much from the East African coast (a mere 20 miles across the Red Sea) as the surrounding Arab Peninsula.
Little has been written about the music and culture of one of the world’s oldest civilizations, and each 45rpm disc gives a small glimpse of the poetic tradition, the unique local oud styles as well as an insight into people’s day-to-day lives, or the highs and lows of human relationships. Overall, the compilation gives a flavor of the sights and sounds of Yemen, with detailed notes that tell the story of the hunt for music that has mostly lain forgotten in the antique markets of the capital, until now.