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Jordan's Dabke Tradition

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Darrah Covert

on 17 November 2015

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Transcript of Jordan's Dabke Tradition

Variety of Jordanian Dabke: Al Yarmouk University Folk Troupe
Where is Jordan? What does it look like?
Jordan has many music cultures.
The most popular form of music in Jordan is patriotic songs to celebrate the country and/or king; these are influenced by their past Bedouin culture.
Another type of Bedouin music relies on the rebab (or al-rababa), which is a stringed instrument, and sometimes the mijwiz, a reed pipe. These songs have themes of raids, battles, generosity, etc. and are most often melancholy.
A famous dance among Jordanians is the sahja (or sahaja), involving groups of men as large as twenty.
More on Dabke
Dabke originated as an Arab folk dance in mountainous regions above the Mediterranean coastline and the Tigris River. When it was first created, possibly of Canaanite or Phoenician origin, it was danced by people in villages and towns of Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan, and some quasi-bedouin tribes living in nearby territories.
Dabke is now considered a Levantine Arab folk circle dance.
Form of both circle dance and line dancing, performed at weddings and joyous occasions.
The line forms from right to left. The leader of the dabke heads the line, alternating between facing the audience and the other dancers.
In English, its name is also transliterated “dabka”,”dabki”, “dabkeh”, “debke”, “debkah”, “debki”, “debka”.
In Jordan there are about 19 types of dabke. Habel Mwadea’ refers to any dabke performed by men and women together.
Jordan's Dabke Tradition
Physical Features
Jordan is famous for its river
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan rests in a strategic location at the crossroads of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Holy Land.

Jordan is in the Middle East, which is west of the Mediterranean Sea.
Jordan is also famous for the ancient red-rock city, Petra.
It borders Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea, Palestine, Israel, and Iraq
Jordan's geography is diverse.
West Jordan = Mediterranean climate; hot, dry summer and cool, wet winter + 2 transitional seasons.
75% percent of Jordan is a desert.
Divided into 3 areas: Jordan Valley, Mountain Heights Plateau, and Badia region (eastern desert)
Jordan Valley
Mountain Heights Plateau
Badia region (eastern desert)
People groups: 22
most populous: Arab-Palestinian (3.5 mill.)
other prevalent: Arab-Jordanian, Arab-Iraqi, Arab-Bedouin, Arab-Syrian, and Adyghe
2% Christian, 1% nonreligious, the rest Muslim
Jordan arose out of post-World War I division of the Middle East by Britain and France. At the time, the population was mostly tribes which had participated in the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Today they're called East Bank Jordanians.
Jordan has both a king and prime minister, but the king has political power. Multi-party politics began in 1992.
Few natural resources, but its profits have been undermined by instability within the region. Jordan is dependent on aid, but the economy has been growing.
Economy based on phosphates, potash, fertilizer derivatives; telecommunications; industry and manufacturing; and tourism, but it relies on overseas remittances and foreign aid.
Dabke (or dabka) is the most famous traditional dance, performed by both men and women. This dance heavily relies on stamping one's feet. Steps differ from region to region (it is the national dance of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq).
Bedouin Music from Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan
Would you like to learn how to Dabke?
GREAT! Now you're ready to go join LA Dabke Troupe! Check them out at www.facebook.com/LAdabketroupe/?fref=ts
Thank you!
Instruments of Dabke
Ud (Oud): lute; six courses of two strings, played with a plectrum; has a deep and mellow sound.
Mijwiz: reed clarinet, played by breathing smoothly through a circular aperture at the end, and by moving the fingers over the holes.
Sometimes the minjjayrah is also played, which is similar to the mijwiz., but an open-ended reed flute played in the same way.
Tablah (tabla): small hand-drum also known as the durbakke. Most are beautifully decorated, some with wood, tile, or bone inlay, etched metal, or paintings. It is a membranophone of goat or fish skin stretched over a drum with a wide neck. Today fishkins are rarely used due to the climate.
Daff (riq): similar to a tambourine. It has a round frame, covered on one side with goat or fish skin, and pairs of metal discs are set into the frame.
Arghul (yarghoul): commonly used in solos, often accompanied by singers that begin the dabke performances. It only has finger holes in one of its pipes/reeds.
By Darrah Covert
Full transcript