Other Forms

Mustapha Attar and Bachir Attar
Photo: Cherie Nutting

The Ghaita and Tebel music can also be played in a lighter vein, on festivals or other occasions. Normally it’s characterized by its Jebali rhythms, and the people will dance, giving free rein to movement as an expression of feelings of joy. However, this lighter traditional music is also played with great virtuosity. This music can go on for hours, in a succession of melodic games. While the musicians are playing, they are observing the actions of the dancers. They might suddenly embark on the Boujeloudia, and some dancer might notice that all the Ghaita are pointing to him, and calling him.  Additionally, the musicians with play lighter, chamber like music that features the Gimbri and Kamanja. These songs are sung beautifully such as “Al’Aita,” which means “The Calling.” Other songs in a lighter vein are played with Lira and feature various percussion. Solo music of an improvisatory nature, Maqam, is also played on the Ghaita, Gimbri, Kamanja or Lira.