Nizwa marks Unesco recognition for Al Azi

NIZWA, Dec 16 – The fifth anniversary of the inclusion of the art of Al Azi in the Unesco list was celebrated at the Nizwa Cultural Centre.
Al Azi is an art form that enjoys great acceptance among the Omani community. It is a form of traditional poetry recital, widespread in most parts of Oman, performed by a group of individuals without rhythmical or musical instruments.
It is also a style of music used for praising or paying homage to the homeland and society.
An Al Azi workshop was held to mark its inclusion in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).
Sayyid Said bin Sultan al Busaidi, Assistant Director-General of the General Directorate and International Expert in the File Evaluation Committee, presided over the event.
Nasser bin Salim al Sawafi, Director of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, was also present.
The Al Shahba Folk Art group from Nizwa showcased the art of Al Azi.
Khamis bin Juma al Balushi, Mubarak bin Muslim al Salti and Rabee bin Mallah al Hudaifi participated in a discussion on Al Azi, which was presided over by Salim al Badawi.
Teachers, researchers and those interested in Omani heritage spoke about Al Azi art, and its cultural and social dimensions in the community.
The attire of the groups practising Al Azi art — Omani dishdasha and khanjar, massar, sword and stick — was discussed. If these tools are missing, then it was said to be incomplete. They also discussed the discipline among its practitioners.
They spoke about the conditions to be fulfilled by performers of the art, including the dress, memorising verses and being well-versed with the meanings of poems and movements.
Discussing the qualities necessary for a person to practise Al Azi, they said he should have a strong personality, a loud voice and memorise poems without the use of telephone or paper.
Students from Belarab bin Sultan School presented the art of Al Azi on the occasion.
At the end, Sayyid Said bin Sultan al Busaidi handed certificates to the participants.