Kawkabani Brothers, Abdul, Mohammed and Saad are musicians from Yemen, famous for their performances on Sana’a radio.
Although their father was a muezzin or prayer caller, they represent first generation of professional musicians. Until the revolution of 1962, when the Imam, the hereditary ruler of Yemen, was deposed, the Kawkabanis would not have been permitted to perform publicly within the walls of Sana’a. Up to that time all playing of musical instruments was forbidden, and only religious music, the calling to prayers, was permitted.
You Said That You Would Forget Me was released in 1973, on a Lyrichord compilation Music From Yemen Arabia: Sanaani, Laheji, Adeni. The song is about sorrow of a dying love affair. The first instrument is a kanoun-a 66 metal stringed trapezoid shaped zither placed on the lap and plucked. The kanoun is not indigenous to Yemen and Kawkabanis acquired this one in Saudi Arabia while entertaining expatriate Yemenis. The other instruments used are the oudh, double drums, the tambourine. The singing and the combination of drum and tambourine rhythm represent the characteristic Sana’a musical style.
“You said that you would forget me but you cannot.
If I did anything wrong forgive me. Love needs patience.”