Esaa Ma'alha (Shepherd and kereb player) - 2013​-​03​-​15 - Wadi Dirhor - Esaa Ma'alha (Shepherd and kereb player)

from Socotra Soundscapes: Field Recordings from the Archipelago (BENEFIT RELEASE) by Socotra Soundscapes



Wadi Dirhor is a canyon located near the Dixam Plateau in central Socotra, the most plentiful site of the archipelago's famed dragon's-blood trees. One can overlook the Wadi from the plateau or continue down, via an extraordinarily treacherous mountain path, to the mouth of the canyon. A number of caves in the Wadi are still inhabited by shepherds - among them Esaa Ma'alha, a Soqotri in his late 30s.

Esaa plays a thin, foot-long, five-holed metallic flute called a kereb, which is now played by fewer than 20 people on the island. The kereb must be heated over a fire prior to being played, as he believes the sound suffers in colder conditions. Esaa learned to play the kereb from his father, who was likewise a shepherd and musician. The kereb is normally played at night as a means of "echolocation" for his goats; it is believed that they will stay close to his sound rather than wander off into the brush. The songs are also thought of as melancholy remembrances; romantic yearnings for a peaceful time in the past.





Faulty Machine Recordings Service Los Angeles, California

Myke Dodge Weiskopf is a songwriter, radio producer, and field recordist from Los Angeles. He records and performs as Science Park, and recently launched the monthly Faulty Machine Recordings Service.

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