Zaffat al-Hilu (The Procession of the Beautiful Bride)


from "The Music of Arab Detroit: A Musical Mecca in the Midwest." by Anne K. Rasmussen, pg. 109-136
In The Music of Multicultural America

Edited by Kip Lornell and Anne K. Rasmussen

Summer, 1995, Detroit Area. Bells Band (Majid Kakka, director, lead singer, and keyboard player; Salam Kakka and Johny Sana, percussion synthesizers).
The Bells Band performs traditional music in a completely synthetic idiom using an impressive array of keyboard and percussion. Note the way the band samples Arab instruments as well as the Iraqi rhythm, jurjuna, usually notated as 10/8 (3+2+2+3). The Bells Band have had a long history in Detroit and are still performing under the leadership of Iraqi American musician, Majid Kakka. In the 1990s the distinctive popular music of Iraq was so popular in Detroit that it became part of the Arab American musical mainstream. Today the band continues to perform for community events and to pursue innovative musical projects and collaborations including a concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra titled "Sounds of Babylon” which helped to raise awareness about Chaldean Christians.

Translated Lyrics

Tonight we do the Zaffah for the bride and groom of the black eyes [a sign of beauty].

The ring that she’s wearing is shining all over her dress;

There is nothing else like it in the market.

Congratulations to you (two), the beloved ones 

Five men in suits stand in a fancy ball room facing the camera.
The Bells Band. Photo courtesy of Majid Kakka.