KUBWAKU NA KURAMBAA: JINSI UMAHIRI WA MTUNZI WA KIKE ULIVYOTINGISHA JAMII
Monday, 7 December 2020
Rooted in its meaning – amusement and enchantment – Taarab music implies the elevation into another emotional state. The lyrics in tune with the musical composition elicit emotions which are difficult for outsiders to grasp. Yet its sophisticated emotional power and relevance in everyday life and festive occasions comes to light when listeners become immersed in the intricacies of taarab. It thus reveals itself as a medium of communication for negotiating and reflecting on inter-personal and social concerns. A detailed analysis of Khulaita’s poetic battle demonstrates the emotional power of taarab.
The female poet Khulaita Said Muhashamy (1950 – 2013) was a master in the art of communication through taarab. She wrote lyrics and composed music tailored to the backgrounds and needs of her audiences. As one of a very few female poets who offered their expertise to a wider public, she received visitors – mostly women – who sought advice and commissioned her to write songs. Her clients confided in her because she was trustworthy. Hence Khulaita was very well informed about issues concerning women in her society.
When her artistic skills reached a wider, global audience through her collaboration with the female singer Malika in 1990s, Khulaita engaged in poetic exchanges, which empowered women. Khulaita wrote “Huwi Tena” in reply to the song “Leo Tena” by Abdalla Issa. “Leo Tena” is addressed to a woman who allegedly wishes to resume love with her former lover. The ex-lover rejects her adamantly, even resorting to offending her. “Huwi Tena” answers these insidious and rude accusations in an elegant and artful way. Her answer reflects her genius because it echoes the music and lyrics of “Leo Tena”. It picks up on its melody and traditional rhythm and mirrors the structure, idioms and rhyme of the verses of her opponent’s song. Upon listening for the first time, it might appear that Khulaita’s response was intended to be playful. Knowing the social context though it is evident “Leo Tena” was actually addressed to a woman. Hence, Khulaita defended this woman’s honour with her response “Huwi Tena”.
Thus, particularly women who were very much acquainted with the social context that Khulaita’s song addressed celebrated the genius of her response. By virtue of its poetic and musical skill, “Huwi Tena” put the sender of “Leo Tena” in his place. Even if listeners were not familiar with the intimate details of sender and addressee they still cherished the poetic and musical victory of the female answer over this misogynistic song. The success of the song “Huwi Tena” was such that it was featured among Khulaita’s most successful and popular songs in Swahili communities all over the globe.
Khulaita Muhashamy’s work offers a glimpse into the subtle power that female poets exerted.
(Report by the presenter Stefanie Kolbusa)
Kutokana na mzizi wa maana yake –kufurahisha na kuburudisha – muziki wa taarab humpeleka mtu katika hali nyingine ya kihisia. Mashairi na mahadhi huamsha hisia ambazo ni vigumu kuelewa kwa msikilizaji asiye wa jamii husika. Nguvu yake ya kihisia na umuhimu wake katika maisha ya kila siku na sherehe za kila aina hujionesha pale wasikilizaji wakijikita katika muziki huu. Hivyo, muziki huu unakua chombo cha mawasiliano katika kujadili na kuakisi masuala ya kibinafsi na ya kijamii. Uchambuzi makinifu wa majibizano ya kimashairi ya Khulaita Said Muhashamy huonesha nguvu hii ya kihisia ya taarab.
Mshairi wa kike Khulaita Said Muhashamy (1950 – 2013) alikua bingwa katika sanaa ya mawasiliano kupitia taarab. Aliandika mashairi na kutunga nyimbo zilizoendana na mahitaji ya hadhira yake. Kama mmoja wa washairi wakike wachache sana aliyehudumia hadhira kubwa zaidi, alipokea wageni – wengi wao wanawake – ambao waliomba ushauri na kumwomba awaandikie nyimbo. Wateja wake walimwamini kwa sababu aliaminika. Hivyo, Khulaita alijua mengi kuhusiana na wanawake katika jamii yake.
Katika miaka ya tisini, umahiri wake uliufikia ulimwengu kupitia ushirikano wake na mwimbaji Malika. Wakati huu Khulaita alijihusisha katika majibizano ya nyimbo, ambayo yaliwawezesha wanawake. Khulaita aliandika “Huwi Tena” akijibu wimbo wa “Leo Tena” ulioimbwa na Abadalla Isa. “Leo Tena” inampakazia mwanamke kwa kusema kuwa anataka kurudiana kimapenzi na bwana wake wa zamani. Bwana huyo anamkataa na kufikia hatua ya kumkebehi. “Huwi Tena” inajibu haya matusi ya chini chini na mabaya kiustaarabu na kisanaa zaidi. Jibu lake linadhihirisha umahiri wake kwa sababu linatoa mwangwi wa “Leo Tena". Linachukua mahadhi, mdundo wa kiasili na kumulika muundo, methali na vina vya mashairi ya wimbo wa mpinzani wake. Ukisikiliza kwa juu juu, unaweza kudhani jibu la Khulaita lilidhamiriwa kuwa la mchezo. Lakini kwa kufahamu muktadha wa jamaii, ni dhahiri kuwa “Leo Tena” ilimlenga mwanamke. Hivyo, Khulaita alimtetea huyu mwanamke kupitia jibu lake “Huwi Tena”.
Wanawake walioelewa kwa undani muktadha wa jamii ambao nyimbo ya Khulaita ulizungumzia walisherehekea umahiri wa jibu lake. Kupitia ustadi wake wa ushairi na muziki, “Huwi Tena” inamkemea mtunzi wa “Leo Tena”. Ijapo wasikilizaji hawakufahamu kwa undani juu ya mlenga na mlengwa walifurahia ushindi wa kishairi na kimuziki wa jibu la mwanamke juu ya wimbo huo uliomkandamiza mwanamke. Ushindi wa wimbo wa “Huwi Tena” ulikua kiasi kwamba ulikuwa miongoni mwa nyimbo mashuhuri za Khulaita katika jamii ya Waswahili ulimwenguni kote.
Kazi ya Khulaita Muhashamy inatumulikia nguvu ya ushairi ambayo watunzi wa kike wameitumia.
(Imetafsiriwa kwa Kiswahili na Augustine Malija na Stefanie Kolbusa)