Marfa Music

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The Marfa is an Arab rhythmic music.[1] played with high tempo using daff, Dhol, sticks,[2] steel pots and wooden strips called thapi.[3] The Chorus effects and vocal meter are set according to beats.[1][2]

It was introduced during 18th century in Hyderabad State by the Arab Siddi community diaspora, who used to serve as a Cavalry Guards of Asif Jahi Nizams irregular army. Asif Jahi Nizams had patronized Marfa Music and it was performed during there official celebrations and ceremonies. It got popular in India, particularly in Hyderabad state. It was brought to Hyderabad State by the arab diaspora of siddis.[1][2]


Marfa is an Yemeni Arabic word used for Kettledrum.[4] Due to the large influence of Yemenis on the culture of Ethiopian siddi, the word Marfa got symbolized for the music played using Kettledrum.[5][6] Whereas kettledrums are replaced with handay kettledrum[3] in Siddi form of Marfa Music played in Hyderabad, India.[7]


Marfa music is classified in three different musical rhythmic beats.[2] A typical dance is performed jigging with swords and sticks based on tempo and rhythm of music.[8] This music is performed only by men, whereas dances and jigging is common among both male and female.[1][2]

  • sewari
  • bamb sheklah and
  • ya abu bakar-ya abu salah.


Playing Marfa has become popular in hyderabad and it is considered as mark of traditional welcome.[2][9][10][11] Since 1951, it is performed officially by the government of India as part of the annual celebration on the occasions of Independence Day and Republic Day at Red Fort, New Delhi, India.[2]

Reference List[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "‘Marfa' band of the Siddis ‘losing' its beat". Hyderabad, India: The Hindu. 10 July 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Ababu Minda Yimene (2004). An African Indian community in Hyderabad: Siddi identity, its maintenance and Change. cuvillier verlag gottingen. pp. 209–211. ISBN 3-86537-206-6. 
  3. ^ a b "It’s "teen maar" for marriages, festivals". Hyderabad, India: The Hindu. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Michael S. Kinnear (1994). The Gramaphone Company's first Indian recordings, 1899-1908. Popular Prakashan. p. 203. ISBN 81-7154-728-1. 
  5. ^ British-Yemeni Society: Traditional music in the Yemen
  6. ^ Yemen Music | Enjoy The Poetry In Yemeni Music
  7. ^ Census of India : Andhra Pradesh. India. Director of Census Operations, Andhra Pradesh. 1981. p. 82. 
  8. ^ Welcome to the Telangana
  9. ^ "US Consul General floored by Arabi daf". The Hindu. December 1, 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Spiritual leader of Dawoodi Bohras in city". Hyderabad, India: The Hindu. 29 March 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  11. ^ "Sania-Shoaib-enters-Mirza-residence-hand-in-hand". Hyderabad, India: The_Times_of_India. 13 April 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 

See also[edit]