SHARJAH, UAE: At the 18th edition of Sharjah Heritage Days (SHD) in the Heart of Sharjah, a quaint stall bedecked with Tunisian fish motifs sports the name ‘Do-it-Yourself’ Stand.
Visitors to the stand, run by artists and handicraft preservers KalthoumTreki and BachirLaswad, can learn how to make musical instruments, mainly drums or “tablas” of many shapes and sizes. Aiming to promote both Tunisian and Middle Eastern musical heritage at the event, the stall stocks dried goat hide and twine in a multitude of colours, to fashion the drums with.
“We show visitors how to create three types of drums: professional, amateur and miniature,” says Laswad. Bagpipes, a Zurna pipe, different kinds of flutes, babies’ rattles or darbouka and an assortment of tablas are strewn around the stand, offering visitors a glimpse of the sheer variety of the instrumental music heritage of Tunisia.
Making the miniature drums is the most popular activity with visitors, who can take it home with them as a keepsake, or even use it as a keychain or hanging decoration. “It’s our way of showcasing a bit of Tunisian tradition to UAE citizens and residents. We are a small country on the northern coast of the big continent of Africa, but our nation is known for famous musical genres like the classical form of Malouf.”
This is just one of the many activities that visitors can enjoy and experience at Sharjah Heritage Days. With over 500 events and activities offering visitors a unique opportunity to learn about and experience the vibrant foods, clothing, handicrafts, dances and traditions of the UAE and the world, the three-week event is the largest heritage and culture festival in the region, organised by the SharjahInstitute for Heritage.