03 August, 2014

Hadhramout, Mukalla: Karama Mursal Is Dead

Early this Sunday morning, after a long illness, one of the greatest, most admired and most respected singers and musicians in Hadhramout: Karama Saeed Mursal (كرامة سعيد مرسال) passed away at Ibn Sina Hospital, Mukalla. He was 68. In Hadhramaut, no other singer was as much liked and was as popular as Karama Mursal, except Abu Bakar Salim Bilfageeh (ابوبكر سالم بلفقيه). Mursal's songs, like Bilfageeh's, were very popular with both old and young.

Karama Mursal (also respectfully and popularly known as: ِAbu Sabri أبو صبري) was born in 1946, in Mukalla Old Town. He began singing when he was very young, and in 1963, when he was only 17 he was already very popular around Mukalla. In 1969  - the late Hussain Abubakar Al'Mahdhaar (حسين ابوبكر المحضار), the poet and the doyen of Hadhrami music, took notice of him. From then on, he and Bilfageeh were the most prominent in singing Al'Mahdhaar's compositions. The two - Bilfageeh and Mursal - made Al'Mahdhaar famous and wealthy; and Al'Mahdhaar, in turn, through his poems, made both house hold names, not only in Hadhramout but in the whole of the Arabian Peninsular; and made both wealthy, too. Karama Mursal was also very popular with the Hadhrami Diaspora, especially in Eastern Africa.

For ceremonies and concerts in Hadhramout, in Mukalla in particular, especially weddings, Bu Sabri with his exceptional melodious voice -- was always the most sought after and usually played to packed crowds.  Mursal was also very sought after nationally, in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, where he was invited for ceremonies and concerts. Unlike Bilfageeh, Mursal never migrated out of his Homeland; he lived in Mukalla, mainly in Fuw'wa. Although rich and respected by both ordinary people and Hadhrami, Yemeni leaders -- he was a very simple, ordinary, humorous man who, when healthy, could be found in the evenings in one of the old streets in Mukalla Old Town, sipping tea or chatting with friends or playing dominoes. He is survived by 13 children. A huge crowd attended his funeral this afternoon and he was buried at Ya'aqoob Cemetery, in Old Mukalla. May he rest in peace.

+ Videos Of Karama Mursal 
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