Song and Dance in Doha

While thinking about what to publish for this week’s blog post, by happenstance, I was looking through the few videos that I had saved in Google Photos. It then occurred to me to curate a few of these videos and share them. So, after upgrading my WordPress account, once again, I was able to upload and embed video to my blog. (There are other bells and whistles that I have unlocked with the upgrade; however, I will explore them at a later date.) The following are some videos of song and dance in Doha.

During a Red Bull sponsored dhow painting event, the ceremony opened with the performance of a traditional song. Back when fishing, pearl diving, and sea trade were more vital to the economy of Qatar, men would be at sea for extended periods of time. To keep the spirit of these sailors high, it was the job of one man to lead the other men in chant and song as they went about their work. The following video is the performance of a traditional song that would be sung while possibly pulling a dhow onto shore.

Dhow work song

Last fall, I was invited by a former student to attend his wedding reception. In Qatar, men and women celebrate wedding receptions separately. My student’s reception was held at a nearby 5-star hotel in its spacious event room. On the day of the event, male family and friends would enter the room and proceed to congratulate the groom on his nuptials. Then the men would go off to seating on the sides of room to drink karak tea, eat dates, and make smalltalk. I was one of the few guests in western dress while everyone else was dressed in Qatari national gear. During the event, men with traditional instruments would occasional start to play songs and the attendees would participate in a traditional sword dance. There were two racks of swords set up for the dancers to select, and then they would out and perform the dance of their family or tribe. The following video is one of sword dances during the wedding reception.

Sword dance during Qatari wedding

Because of the large numbers of western expats in Qatar, more musically inclined foreigners usually can find likeminded individuals to jam with. These jam sessions occasionally lead to bands being formed, And, in Doha, there are venues and parties where these bands play. My colleague from work is in a bluegrass trio named Cats with Manners. The following video is one of their performances during an expat house party.

Cats with Manners

The last video that I am sharing is from the local amusement park in Doha. Even though the amusement park is an integrated location, meaning male and female teenagers are able to mix at the amusement park. Qatari males and female self-segregated throughout the park. This resulted in a group of boys taking a turn on the rides and then a group of girls taking their turn. There weren’t any religious or authority figures policing this behavior, and the Filipino ride operators were barely telling the Qatari youth what they could or couldn’t do, aside from the required protocol of ride safety. So, during the turn of the teenage boys, some of them would stand up throughout the ride and run in place, thus countering the centrifugal force. Here is a video of their daring performance.

Amusement park daredevils

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