The idea of founding an association of precentors from Sanaa goes back to 1975, a period when lessons were generously given to all young volunteers in the home of Yahya al-Mahfadi and Isma’il Abu Talib, but it was only in September 1990 that the Association came into being on a national level. It is the only one of its kind in the Yemen and aims to preserve the national heritage of religious songs, to collect them amongst the old people of the community who still remember them, to teach them to others and to give them new life and/or new forms.
The Association’s first President was Qasim Zubayda, an artist and man of letters, and a follower of the great sheikhs Mohammed al-Na’mani and Mohammed Husayn ‘Amer. It was the latter who put together a collection of poetic texts approved by both the Shiite and Sunnite ulemas of the Yemen. The current President is Ali al-Akwaa.
Translated by Delia Morris
Available album : Sacred songs from Sanaa