Their music was so strange and distant From hymns they sang straight to the sea Or praises raised to mighty Allah Those lovely songs, that fidjeri Above the waves of Bas Ya Bahr* The Nahhaaam raised his melody Along with him the clappers played The jahlah or mirwas, plaintively. Sometimes they sang of home and hearth The sea below the sky above But as is often true of songs Most times they sang, of course of love. The times they sang were once upon A long, long time before, ago When life was simpler and the sea Meant only fish or pearls below And then the world all over changed And like the divers, they did too Sink beneath these gentle waves And vanished quite, into the blue The Sanginni, the Bahri, Adsani and Haddadi too Gone indeed, gone from these seas Hasawi, Zumayya and the Dan Mkholfi lost upon the breeze The Nahhaams songs of pearls and divers Tell me please Bahraini friends Are they truly lost forever? And is this their sad, sad end?
Note: Fidjeri is the general term for the Pearl Divers’ songs; the others were particular genres: Sanginni, Bahri, Haddadi, Hasawi, Zumayya, Dan & Mkholfi. The Nahham was the pearl diver charged with leading the singing. Bas Ya Bahr means the Cruel Sea and was the title of a 1972 film produced in Kuwait.