May 3, 2014

1074 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Al-Razfa, a traditional performing art (UNESCO ICH)

The United Arab Emirates is a part of the Arab khaleeji tradition (characterized by heavy use of the oud and tabl drum), and is also known for Bedouin folk music. Many of the songs and dances, handed down from generation to generation, have survived, even if today only 16.5% of the country's population are Emiratis, mainly originating from the Bani Yas tribe or with Persian origins (Sunni and Shia). The interpretation of these folk arts varies between the coast, the oases and the desert, but the structure is broadly similar and the common themes are pride, religion, praise, masculinity, strength and chivalry.

One of the most well-known forms of Emirati folk art is Al-Razfa (Razafat), the unaccompanied recitation of verses by two facing lines of men. The performers are dressed in traditional costume with cartridges belts and ornate curved daggers slung around their waists. They each carry a stick (traditionally used to control the camels) and a rifle and their performance is punctuated by gunfire. Many chants are verses of traditional Nabati poetry, carefully selected to match the occasion. In some cases, young girls swing their hair in time to the music.

When all the verses have been recited, the performers rest and male dancers or razzafeen take over: they perform a swaying dance, weaving between the two rows and from time to time circling their rifles above their heads. Originally performed as a communal celebration of victory, Al-Razfa is now widely popular as a form of entertainment. Practitioners have adapted musical instruments and composed melodies to interest younger audiences while maintaining the older expressions and oral traditions of the art.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of a series of two, issued on December 12, 2012, to mark the 100 years of Al Ahmadiya School. Al Ahmadiya School is a semi-formal private school in Dubai, founded in 1912 by Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmouk, of the pearl trade in the Persian Gulf
• 1.0 AED
• 1.5 AED - It's on the postcard 1074

The second stamp is part of a series issued on April 15, 2013, to celebrate 50 Years of Postal Services in Abu Dhabi. The first post offices were opened in Abu Dhabi and Das Island on March 30, 1963, operated under the supervision of British Mail from Bahrain, using Queen Elizabeth II stamps. In 1964,the postal administration released the first postage stamps bearing the emirate's name and carrying local scenes. In 1965, the British postal administration issued the first set of commemorative stamps on falconry.
• 1.0 AED
• 1.5 AED - It's on the postcard 1074
• 3.0 AED
• 4.0 AED

Folk Dances of the UAE - Al Shindagah
Traditional songs and dances of the UAE - Abu Dhabi Days
Al-Razfa, a traditional performing art - UNESCO official website

Sender: Usman (direct swap)
Sent from Al Bashra (Dubai / UAE), on 20.04.2014


  1. great you received the card.

    1. Thank you very much, Usman. Gorgeous. I sent you an e-mail.

    2. BTW. It is correct what I wrote about these dances?