Friday, March 16, 2007

The Dabke: from al-Zaytoona Dabke Group website

"DABKE is the national dance of Palestine and is often seen in festivals, celebrations and weddings. Originally, the inhabitants of the Levant used to live in houses built from stones with roofs made out of wood, straw and dirt. Each time, before it rained, the roof was supposed to be compacted, and this used to be done with a rolling stone, or mahdaleh. But before the mahdaleh, they use to compact it with their feet which required many strong men stomping the dirt hard in a uniform way that would compact it evenly. This event of cooperation is called ta'awon and from here comes the word awneh, meaning "help." This developed into the song 'Ala Dalouna', or roughly translated "Let's go and help". Therefore, the dabke and the rythmic songs go together in an attempt to keep the work fun and useful. Eventually, musicians would play for them so that the roof was stamped down in a homogeneous way, sealing all the cracks and compacting the dirt, making the water flow down the roof without going inside the house. "

Since the British occupation in Palestine in 1917, DABKE became a representation of Palestinian identity and was associated with political and national aspirations after the disaster of 1948 when the state of Israel was declared and hundred of thousands of Palestinians were deported from their land. Since then DABKE became the national dance of Palestinians and was emphasized more in refugee camps both in Gaza and the West Bank and in the Diaspora." Taken off of the al-Zaytouna Dabke Group website.


sasa said...

Oh wow, are you in this group? I know a couple of people who are!

Wassim said...

What a coincidence? So how long ago were you in England and what were you doing? I don't know anybody in the group, I got an invite to their celebration of Yowm al Ard on the 31st and I look forward to the show. I can pass on some regards if you like!

sasa said...

The last time was only recently! I'll probably be in London again soon.

I wanted to join the group, but I don't think I have any co-ordination. I know one guy called Basil, but I have a feeling he's no longer in the group, maybe I'm wrong?

Enjoy the celebration!