Photos from My Archive


Nuged the south of Socotra May 1979

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Digital art picture – based on a Photo from My Archive


Sunset homework. Qalansia – Socotra, 1979

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Photos from My Archive


Fatima Qamar Ya-wa-wa Sqt1A

Walking along the roads of Socotra that time about 40 years ago – in 1978-79.

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Photos from My Archive


Hadibo, Socotra – 1978-79

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Photos from My Archive


Salima and her boy – Socotra – 1978

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Photo from my archive

The women are saving the most deep inherited traditions of the people. In Socotra it is all the same – despite of the local men’s love and respect to basic Socotran folklore traditions.

It was a short period of 1970s-1980s when such texts could be recorded and such photos taken. They all are now the history archive of the island.

And it was a unexpected and sudden opportunity to hear the pure version of the Socotran folk tale of Two Brothers not from young or old men of Socotra but from
Fatima, a daughter of uncle Salim Sho`o and his only wife Maryam min d-il-Keshen.

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Soqotri speaking

Assaida tv (Yemen), Mukhtar al-Rahbi, Sada al-‘usbuu Programme, 2013

Here is not so much Soqotri but the traditional greetings in Soqotri are well pronounced and formulated..

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Box of Tales in a Book

Socotra: A Natural History of the Islands and their People.
Catherine Cheung and Lyndon DeVantier; Science Editor: Kay Van Damme.
Odyssey Books & Guides, Hong Kong, 2006. Pp. 404.

My Box 8.3 about The Folktales of Socotra (p. 292)



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How Is a Real Folk Tale of Socotra Looking Like?

1. gadaḥ ‛Ali Bota‛el wa qaṣṣa he-n ṭad qiṣṣa

2. ‛omar ‛Ali Bota‛el: gedaḥ (h)-i ṭod wa ‛omar (h)-i:

3. – ya-‛li, ho-hon šodim yha qaqa lilin wa gedaḥ l-soṭhon wa ‛omar h-i:

4. ya soṭhon, ho-hon šodimk lilin ’inni ba‛alk d-e firhim.

5. ‛omar soṭhon: ḥabas t-i!

6. wa na‛a ’ifo yikhen? qalk ‛af l-irqaḥ d-yo qaqa?

7. ‛omar ‛Ali Bota‛el: noqa‛en sitta riyāl wa ho-hon ’iraqaḥ mukšam.

8. ’inqa‛ mukšan darahim wa ‛omar h-i:

9. – na‛a ’iṭahero!

10. tza‛a š-i de mismār wa ho-hon ’iza‛a diš maṭraqa!

11. wa ’iṭahero!

12. ‛omar mukšam: dyo ’iṭahero?

13. ‛omar: ’iṭahero – ‛irubk ho.

14. tu‛ud š-i wa ’ål ’iśa’ak!

15. gedaḥo di-d-ḥalf d-‛igebo hi.

16. ‛omar yhe: tḥofer diš qa‛r d-ḥa! wa ‛a tšimtel!

17. ḥfaro ka’ala.

18. gedaḥen ’imba‛ele d-soṭhon wa ‛imar:

19. – lo tḥofer diš qa‛r d-ḥa?

20. ye‛omar soṭhon – ’ål ‛ak tḥfer wulla ḥubas ta-k!

21. ‛omar ‛Ali: d̮abi soṭhon l-išimtel tho – ’ål šobotk!

22. qo‛o soṭhon driša, ‛omar h-i:

23. ’a-‛li, ’nqana‛k? lo tḥofer dyo qa‛r?

24. ‛omar h-i: šodemk lilin ’inni ẖazna yho-d bebe nḥat d-et qa‛r.

25. ‛omar soṭhon: ’a-‛li, ’ål ḥazak ’inni mišrher kidb?

26. ‛omar ‛Ali: ’ifo te‛omer mišrher kidb?

27. wa ’e-hen gedaḥ-k mukšam ‛omar ha-k: šodem-k lilin
ṭod mišrher ’inni ho ba‛alk d-e firhim – ‛omark: yukub t-i d-sign!

28. ho-hon ša’amoNk ’inni šodemk ṭo’o mukšam biraḥ teten.

29. wa na‛a ta‛omer – kidb!

30. wa ’e-hen ḥibisk mukšam.

31. ‛omar ‛Ali: raqaḥ mukšam wa ho-hon ’ål ‛ak ’aḥofer.

This is that very text of a Socotra folk tale that I was fortunate to record – for the first time in full – from a Socotri man from Hadibo, ca. 26-28 years old, a serjeant in Shallal brigade serving very far from his homeland – at the foot of the Al-Uqla Mountain, in 15 km from the ancient Hadramaut capital Shabwa – at the south edge of Ramlat al-Sab’atayn desert sands. In March 1978.

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Tales of Socotra: Experience and Challenge (3)

Selmon Keshen – 1979 – From my archive

The tales that my new Socotran friends who studied in Aden had told me and that we had transcribed together were the most extended and detailed. They were told by Socotrans and to Socotrans in a home evening tale party though the tape-recording of that party was made especially for me.

If not these tales and their transcriptions, another words – if not the help of of those educated Socotran young men, it would be very hard for me if even possible to break through into the hidden world of Soqotri folk tales. Really, my previous informants on Socotra helped me a lot to form a strong basis of Soqotri vocabulary, grammar issues, corpus of recorded (some of them tape-recorded) original texts and ethnological information which is necessary to understand true Socotran discourse. But I did not have one more and important quality: feeling of myself like a part of this discourse during the perception of Socotran tales, and they helped me to get it.

But I did not have one more and important quality – feeling myself like a part of this discourse during the perception of Socotran tales, and they helped me to get it.

Thus, already being in Moscow, I had returned to two excellent completed texts tape-recorded in Mauna from Fatima Salem and had find myself being able to transcribe them quite good because of her Soqotri dialect of the area was the most familiar to me.

Earlier, I had had some good storytellers in Mury area, too, one of whom – Selmon – was the best. Selmon’s tellings were always perfectly styled, expressively performed and logically constructed – within the intelligent use of the Soqotri folk tale traditional patterns and Soqotri live spoken language possibilities1, though he was only about 23-24 of age.

The tales told by Salmon became best materials for retell them in Russian and English literary. Of course, for each retelling not one but several recordings of the same tale (when there was more than one) had been taken to compile a final literary written texts not very long, being in the frames of written storytelling of folklore and – in the same time – saving as more as possible of essential features of folklore and traditions of Socotra.

However, the tales told by Fatima Salem made me look at the clear historical perspectives of Socotran tales, much deeper than one could ever expect.

1 – the use of different intonations, stress varieties, meaningful changes in root consonants of words and breaking words into parts was very popular; the most successful storytellers on Socotra practiced such techniques masterfully.

To be continued>>>
(Written especially for Black Camel online magazine on WordPress)

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