Lebanese Folk Genres: Ataba and Mijana, and 'Ala Daluna


from "The Music of Arab Detroit: A Musical Mecca in the Midwest." by Anne K. Rasmussen, pg. 109-136
Edited by Kip Lornell and Anne K. Rasmussen


1990s, Dearborn, Michigan. Rana Homaidan-vocal; Naim Homaidan-’ud; and Anne Rasmussen-violin. Lebanese folk genres "Ataba and Mijana" followed by “'Ala Daluna” by Rana and Naim Homaidan and Anne Rasmussen.

The non-metric, improvised performance of Rana’s “Ataba” is complimented by metric refrains sung by all present as well as taqasim (improvisations) on both violin and ‘ud (faded out due to time constraints). The tune that follows, “Ala Daluna” is sung for the dabkah dance, a percussive line dance that can go on for hours. Rana and Naim’s family is heard clapping, dancing, and singing along in this spontaneous afternoon performance in their living room. The text of “Ala Daluna” for which there can be found thousands of verses, translates roughly:

Ala Daluna, the loved ones left us, they didn’t even say good-bye;

I don’t want my mother or my father, I just want my dark, handsome, beloved.

Oh you, young man riding the bicycle, Stop!, Tell me your story.

Give me your handkerchief, I want to wipe my brow, Oh the handkerchief smells like lemon.

A man and woman sit together on a couch. They sing and he plays an 'ud.
Rana and Nadim Homaidan. This photo was taken on the same day the recording was made in the mid-1990s at their home in Dearborn, Michigan. Photo by Anne Rasmussen.