- Nahma: A Gulf Polyphony comes out next month alongside an art book on the maritime custom.
The culture and music of pearl divers in the Arabian Gulf is being celebrated on a new compilation.
Spanning thirteen tracks, Nahma: A Gulf Polyphony includes archived and new material. Four tracks are 1950s recordings of pearl divers chanting that were captured by the late composer and ethnomusicologist Poul Rovsing Olsen. This material served as inspiration for Tomaga, YPY, Aya Metwalli, Joakim, Tarek Yamani and Hieroglyphic Being, who created original productions for the release.
A digital and vinyl version of the album arrives November 12th via Paris-based label FLEE, with the digital edition including a bonus track by Tomaga. Accompanying the LP is a 240-page book containing essays, photographs and art on pearling. Contributors include Flee cofounders Olivier Duport and Alan Marzo as well as Monira Al Qadiri and Toufic Kerbage. The whole project aims to "honor the memory of these valiant free-divers," according to a description.
A centuries-old practice among countries such as Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, pearling carries a deep musical tradition based around singing, clapping, hand drums and cymbals.
Listen to Joakim's contribution for Nahma: A Gulf Polyphony.
01. Tomaga - Dub Divers
02. YPY - ZZMMYYHH
03. Hieroglyphic Being - Kuzaliwa Upya
04. Tarek Yamani - Hilal
05. Alan Strani - Vaguement (haddadi)
06. Ben Bertrand - And the ashes of our burning souls will fly away
07. Conny Frischauf - Schein Davon
08. Aya Metwalli - Sitt-il Muhanna
09. Joakim - Zumayyah (remix)
10. Poul Rovsing Olsen (archives) - Ya Mal (Midaf)
11. Poul Rovsing Olsen (archives) - Zumayyah
12. Poul Rovsing Olsen (archives) - Haddadi
13. Poul Rovsing Olsen (archives) - Bahrï
14. Tomaga - Any Further Trade (Digital Exclusive)
Flee will release Nahma: A Gulf Polyphony on November 12th, 2021.
Photo credit: Mark Khalifé