A country’s identity is unique. It’s a mixture of its people’s customs, traditions, art, history, and cultural heritage. It’s not necessarily monolithic or homogenous; in Yemen, there is variety from the far north to the far south with different stories, songs, costumes and even words and dialects.
This cultural mosaic is what we’re going to be discussing in today’s episode of Barda we’ll be looking at the diversity of Yemeni popular heritage, from one region to another, by highlighting the Socotri folk literature. But we’ll also be looking at how the war in Yemen has impacted the local artistic and literary movement, and how art can contribute to the peace process.
Our guest for this episode is Mohammed Almahfali, research fellow at The Columbia Global Centers | Amman, affiliated with Columbia University in the City of New York. He also worked as a researcher at the Center for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University, Sweden.
Mohammed recently launched a project to protect folk literature on the island of Socotra, which includes tales and stories disseminated orally, as well as poems, chants and folk songs. This initiative is supported by the Goethe-Institut of Germany, as part of the “Yemeni Cultural Networks” project.