(MENAFN- The Peninsula) By Raynald C Rivera / The Peninsula
DOHA: After the success of its inaugural edition, ‘The Art of Al-Nahmah Prize,' a Gulf-wide traditional singing competition celebrating GCC states' shared maritime heritage, returns for the second year at the Cultural Village Foundation-Katara.
Launched last year, this music festival is a unique competition dedicated exclusively to traditional maritime singing seeking primarily to revive Qatar's musical heritage and folklore.
The event is in line with Katara's efforts to keep long-forgotten traditions alive by promoting them through similar competitions and events and providing the public an opportunity to experience this aspect of Qatari heritage.
Qatar, like other GCC countries, is rich in folk music particularly maritime work songs, the most common of which are pearl diving chants integral to pearling trips in the past. Each dhow has a singer called Naham whose chief role was perform songs to inspire the crew to work harder as well as entertain them while taking rest.
The singer also entertain them during a harsh voyage and through him pray to ease hardships they encounter while in the sea.
Katara has opened the registration for aspiring participants including GCC nationals under 40 years old. Registration runs until March 1 and the competition is scheduled from March 12 to 17.
The competition will include qualifying and final rounds in which the top three winners will be awarded cash prizes of QR100,000; QR70,0000 and QR50,000 respectively.
The competition categories include traditional singing types comprising Dawari, Al Yamal, Al Khetfa, Adsani, Haddadi and Mkholfi. The inaugural edition, held in April last year, saw 21 competitors from all over GCC with Ali Saeed Al Merri from Qatar winning the grand prize with Salem Waleed Saleh from Kuwait and Ahmad Abdulah Gomaa Farhan from Bahrain completing the list of winners. Apart from cash prizes, they also received precious pearls called Al Dana, Al Hasbaa, and Al Badla.
As the sea had been the main source of livelihood of Qataris in the past, Katara has been organising events to revive Qatar's rich maritime heritage. The events come in the form of festivals, competitions and voyages including the Traditional Dhow Festival, Senyar traditional pearl diving and fishing competition, El Meyna pearl diving competition for children and Fath Al Kheir voyage, among others.
The annual Katara Traditional Dhow Festival which saw its seventh edition last year has seen thousands of visitors see the spectacular display of a vast number of traditional dhows along Katara shores as well as the various traditional cultural presentations, art and craft exhibitions and demonstrations.
One of the biggest traditional dhows in Qatar, Fath Al Kheir marked its third voyage last month spreading love and brotherhood to neighbouring countries.
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