I received a CD of songs enclosed in an elegant envelope, a gift from the Al Rai Media Group, with the following wonderful text: “The music was and is the companion of the Kuwaitis during their sea voyages and travels; when they sat together after a hard day’s work. They enjoyed the drumbeats and music on stringed instruments, wind beating their semi-bare bodies, hands clasped and hearts filled with happiness.
The CD contains old Kuwaiti songs which have filled the hearts of generations with happiness. Some young talented Kuwaitis have developed them without changing the essence. They have kept Kuwait’s heritage intact through the new blend of music as broadcast by the Al Rai TV channel. If we look at the social structure of the Kuwaitis, we find them sometimes contradictory and at other times homogenous.
Historically, in the strict sense of the word, I believe the major factor that has kept the Kuwaitis bonded together was art with all openness, fun and longing for a sweet life, and a yearning for the beloved homeland. The ‘Naham’, or the singer during the sea voyage or pearl diving expedition, was the expression of the soul, love for the homeland during the arduous long journey either in search of a business deal or a looking for precious pearls in the depths of the Gulf waters.
Music and sentimental songs called ‘The blues’, particularly when men sailed away from home, were the only source of entertainment. Today we have become part of our folklore and core of the culture in society, which should be protected. Hence, Al-Rai has taken the initiative to document this heritage in a new form. It is worth mentioning that a number of rulers of Kuwait had a passion to listen to beautiful tunes, write poetry, and some of them had even written beautiful lyrics which we still enjoy.
The gift from ‘Al Rai’ coincides with the spread of a post on the social media, showing several ‘intimate family’ pictures of a well-known religious party personality, with his wife. Perhaps he appears in nice and varied positions, wearing their best garments looking extremely happy and contented. Some people have gloated and others have taken the satirical road while commenting on the pictures, but I find myself sympathetic, albeit a little late.
This is the true picture of the man, and this is his desire, not what he tries to impress others by a different gloomy image reflected through his articles, with a frown on face and strong words. I, he and other Kuwaitis in general, are fond of fun and love to enjoy life in spite of all evil descriptions. All of us, without exception love life and have a desire to enjoy it to the fullest; therefore the calls by some religious fanatics otherwise, is nothing but hypocrisy at its height. They are ultimately human beings like us, and all of us have our strengths and weaknesses we often hide more than what we show.
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By Ahmad Al-Sarraf