Chronicle of the Middle East and North Africa

The modern face of traditional music

The music of Qatar is affiliated to Arabic songs, and was influenced during the last thirty years by the Gulf arts. Most Qataris (in modern times) enjoy listening to Khaliji music in the style of the traditional Bedouin music, accompanied by an array of percussion instruments, including al-ras (a large drum whose leather is heated by an open fire), tambourine and cymbals, along with small drums. Other instruments played in Qatar include the ud and rebaba, both string instruments, as well as the Arabian flute. This music dominates the airwaves in the capital Doha, yet the younger generations play and enjoy music from Egypt, and Lebanon as well as from other areas of the Arab world, Europe and North America.

Qatar knows many associations to encourage music in the country. The Qatari Gulf Folklore Center teaches Qatari folk music. In 2005, Doha Community Orchestral has established a whole symphony orchestra; they play concerts and rehearse at The American School of Doha. Doha Jazz has also taken part in the music scene of Qatar; the Doha Jazz festival ranks high offering world-class music. The Qatar Music Academy is developed by Qatar Foundation centres, offering music education throughout the country and creating an environment of lively inspiration.