In the same way that the
Governorate of Musandam is distinguished
from other areas in the Sultanate in
geography and history, so it is unique in
its types of songs.
This is a popular marching song. It is like the
"Hubbut" from the Governorate of Dhofar and the
"Hambal" of the northern areas of the Sultanate,
in form and aim.
Besides being performed on national occasions it
is also carried out when the groom goes to bathe
in the sea before his wedding.
A number of men perform the Shillat march, they
carry swords and shields and stage a fight as they
go. They shake their swords and jump in the air.
They are followed by the men beating drums - the
Rahmani and Kasir drums - and after them come a
large group of men who sing during the march.
Al Ramsa or Al Ramasia
One of the sword songs of the Governorate of
Musandam, it is usually performed with two rows of
men facing each other, carrying sticks in their
right hands. In the area between the two rows the
drummer goes from one row to another. The drums
used in the Ramasiya are the Rahmani, Kasir and
Ranna. This type of song is characterized by a
contest of swords between the two rows, displaying
their skill in the fencing contest and making a
number of consecutive jumps high in the air. The
participants in the two rows sing songs of glory,
ardour, self-esteem, heroism, war and victories.
They brandish the sticks they hold in their right
hands, to the right, to the left and up and down.
They dance in a fast movement.
This is a song of glory and is known only in
Musandam. The Nadba is performed in groups where
each tribe stands in an uneven set with the
"Nadib" standing in the middle of his tribe. He
raises his right hand high in the air and shakes
it from time to time whilst he places his left
hand on his face or forehead, and utters stirring
The rest of the individuals of the tribe reply to
him with short cries - incomprehensible except for
the word " huwa huwa huwa "(he he
he ....) The "Nadib" begins with the pride and
glory of his tribe and then praises the tribe
which his tribe has invited.
This is a song peculiar to the Bedouins who live
in the mountains of Musandam. The men stand in a
straight-ish row with their drums. The drummers,
usually about 8 - 10 with the Kasir, Rahmani and
Ranna type of drums, move forwards and backwards
and then in a circle.
The Rawah has different verses which are performed
according to the time of day when it is performed,
morning, noon, afternoon and evening. The first is
the Sirah or Sarah which is performed in the early
morning. The second, the Saadar or Sadari is
performed in the forenoon. The third, Rawah is
performed at noon, and the fourth Siria or Sari is
performed in the evening. The Rawah is performed,
generally, at weddings, Eid Al Fitr, Eid Al Adha,
on national occasions and on various official
This type of song is found in the Wilayats of
Khasab, Bukha and Dibba, but, it is not found in
the Wilayat of Mudha which is an area different in
nature from the other three Wilayats.
The Sahba is a song in which both men and women
can participate. The men stand in'a straight line
and the women in another row, parallel to and
opposite the row of men. The men and women perform
the song and the women sway back and forth during
the dance in a graceful movement. In the middle,
between the two rows stand the drummers. They move
first towards the row of women and then towards
the row of men. The drums are the Rahmani, Ranna
Al Jelwih or Jelwa
This is another of the songs that characterize the
Governorate of Musandam. There are two rows, one
of them of women and the other of drummers,
sometimes as many as eight with Rahmani, Kasir and
Ranna drums. They carry out the singing with the
women who stand in a row opposite. They also dance
and utter shrill cries during the singing. The
verse of Jelwih consists of two words repeated by
the men and women, which are "Haliyah Jelwih
In this song the participants stand in two
parallel rows opposite each other. Each of the
participants puts his hand on the shoulder of the
other, and they all sing and dance in a light
graceful movement swaying back and forth as they
clap. There are a number of drummers who approach
one of the rows then return and approach the other
row and so on.
From time to
time a dancer comes out from one of the rows to
perform the dance in the area between the two
rows. The drummers beat their drums chasing him
during the dance until he returns to his row
again, then another dancer from the opposite row
A stipulation for the participants in the Dan is
that the group are barefoot, if any of them wear
their sandals they are punished with a fine.
Al Tawmin or
This is performed at celebrations when a boy or
girl completes the learning of the Quran by heart.
The children gather together in the same school
where they have learnt the Quran and the
"Mutawwa" (religious scholar) sits in front of
them and reads a Qasida. They reply with the word
"Awmin" and so on until the end of the Qasida.
When the Mutawwa is happy with the first Qasida,
he then reads another one. On the day of the
celebration of the Tawmina the children wear their
most beautiful clothes.
This is a song of celebration on the birthday of
the Prophet and is performed on the anniversary of
this religious occasion, at weddings, at the
curing of the sick, on moving to a new house or on
other happy occasions.
The Mawlid has a "Khalifa" (leader) a "Shawwush"
(second in command) and a "Qara" (a reciter),
besides the participants who shout out "Al Haima".
The succession (to be leader) of the Mawlid is
hereditary, it goes from generation to generation
in one family, or the experts in this type of song
in the area choose someone. The "Qara" (reciter)
of the Mawlid is a man of science or scholar in
the stories of the noble Prophet and a memorizer
The celebration of Mawlid is carried out with the
aid of a famous book, kept by the people who
perform this type of song. It is called "Mawlid
Sharaf Al Anam" but is commonly known as "Al
Barzanji". There are three editions, one is Syrian
and contains "tawasih" - a post - classical form
of Arab poetry arranged in stanzas -, the second
is Pakistani and is very pure in its language, and
the third is Indian, which is the most common and
The account of
the birth of the Prophet occurs in the 18th story
if the sequence is recited without the rest of the
divisions of Mawlid, especially on the anniversary
of the birth of the Prophet.
On Monday night each week, when the celebration
occurs, the part of the "AlBarzanji" called "Al
Mawlid wa laisa Al Mawlid" is read. When the
Mawlid is performed at weddings tambourines are
used with the songs in the procession for the
bathing of the groom in the sea.
This is a song of glory and praise and is poetic
recitation without any chanting or singing. It is
performed by an individual outstanding poet or
The poet of 'Azi comes out from his group,
grasping his sword and his shield. As he walks
slowly he recites poetry of glory and praise. He
shakes his sword to show all those present at the
meeting and this shaking makes the blade tremble.
Behind the poet the group of men participate. They
turn in the square between the two rows of "Razha",
who gather to form a circle around the poet and
his followers. They reply with a number of short
cries in the traditional manner, like the short
loud shouts of the word "Wasalamat", which in
olden times was accompanied by the shooting of a
bullet from a rifle.
The participants still cock their rifles with a
penetrating sound, which can be heard at the same
time as these shouts which usually follow the
first scanned verse which the poet recites. In
some Governorates of the Sultanate, such as the Dakhaliya, the poet ends the poetic verse with
glory and praise of his family and friends and
their tribes with the expression "Sabiyan Yakaba
In some Governorates the 'Azi is performed with the
participants in one long display row with the poet
standing in the middle to recite his poetry. The
men reply to him with the traditional replies of 'Azi
and this is what is called "Al 'Azi Al Waqif" (The
There are three kinds of 'Azi poetry.
The first - the "Al Alifiya" where each verse
begins with a letter of the alphabet, beginning
with the letter "Alif" (A), from which the name is
derived. The verses continue until the letter "Al
Yay" (Z) The number of letters used in the "Alifiya"
differs according to whether the poet can use them
The second type is the "Al 'Adadiya". Here the
first three verses, at least, begin with a
numerical formula. The poet says the first, then
there is a poetic verse, then he says the second,
another verse follows, and so on. Some poets can
continue with a fourth, fifth etc. according to
their ability and the length of their repetoire.
The third kind is the "Al Mutlaqa". Here the
poetry is not linked to an order of letters or
numbers, rather its verses depend on the quality
of the poet and his creativity.
The "Qasida Al 'Azi" begins, usually, with "In the
name of God" and ends with a prayer and peace on
the Prophet of God.
There precedes the 'Azi (or follows it) what is
called the "Al Ta'iyuta" or "AI Ta'eeyeeta"
(especially in some Wilayats of the Dakhaliya,
Dhahira and Batinah) which is a picture of glory
with men and women shouting the word "Sud". "Al
M'aeet" (the shouter) shouts the name of the
person who he wants to praise. Then he talks about
his Wilayat and his country and its great Sultan.
The participants in "Al Ta'iyuta" reply, and with
one resounding voice shout the word "Sud", "Al
M'aeet" then repeats the names of those who he
intends to praise or who they are proud of.
The "Al Ta'eeyuta" ends with the saying "Al M'aeet"
(the shouter) and the expression "Al Muslimeen
Takbir" and the participants reply "Allah Akbar".
One of the important aims of the 'Azi poetry, now,
is to praise His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, and the
merits of his era.