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Traditional Bahraini Dance

Khaleeji is a style of Persian Gulf-area folk music, played in Bahrain with polyrhythms. The style is strongly influenced by the music of Africa. The Bahraini male-only pearl diving tradition is known for the songs called Fidjeri. Fidjeri is a musical repertoire performed traditionally by male pearl divers of Bahrain. It involves singing, clapping, drums and dances with earthen water jars. Liwa is a type of music and dance performed mainly in communities which contain descendants of East Africans, such as Muharraq and Hidd.

The music of Bahrain follows the traditional Arabic mode. It is elaborate and repetitive. It is played on the oud (an ancestor of the lute) and the Rebaba (a one-stringed instrument). Bahrain also has a folk dance tradition. The Ardha is a men’s sword dance, which is accompanied by traditional drummers and a poet, who sings the lyrics.

Fidjeri (Arabic: الفجيري; sometimes spelled fijri or fidjeri) is the specific repertoire of vocal music sung by the pearl divers of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf (especially Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar). A lead singer is backed up by a chorus of accompanying singers and clapping. The accompanying instruments to a fidjeri ensemble are a small double-sided hand-drum, known as the mirwās (Arabic: المرواس‎) and the jāhlah (Arabic: الجاهلة‎), a clay pot played with both hands.

There are eight genres of fijiri: Sanginni (sung on the beach, not on the boat), Bahri, Adsani, Mkholfi, Haddadi, Hasawi, Zumayya, and Dan, the last two actually being sub-genres of Hasawi and Mkholfi respectively. Bahri and Adsani are the two main genres. Pearl diver singers are referred to in Arabic as nahham (Arabic: نهام‎).

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