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‘Arabi marfa’ of Hyderabad continues to be a hit even now అక్టోబర్ 26, 2012

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Art, Culture, heritage, Hyderabad, Identity, Nizam, Telangana.
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From the era of the Nizams ‘Arabi marfa’ continues to be a hit even now
Staff Reporter, Hyderabad, The Hindu, October 26, 2012

The band was introduced in the city by the Siddis, an ethnic group of African descent

Brass band may be the rage among youth but ‘Arabi marfa’ still holds its own in Hyderabad. Few celebrations are complete without the Arabic band, particularly in the old city. The high price commanded by it is proof of its popularity.

Be it marriage, festival or election time, Arabi marfa is what one turns to for that rhythmic beat which has everyone swinging. The band was introduced to the city by the Siddis, an ethnic group of African descent.

The 6th Nizam, Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, recruited them being impressed by their physical strength and horsemanship. The Siddis were earlier believed to be working for the Raja of Wanaparthy, it is said. Their descendants now stay in and around A.C. Guards and a few groups are active musicians.

OLD WORLD CHARM: Musicians use ‘dholaks’, steel pots, a small drum called ‘marfa’ and wooden strips called ‘thapi’ in bands. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

Those in the profession can be easily recognised as they strut around donning shirts, lungis and red-chequered scarves playing ‘dholaks’, steel pots, a small drum called ‘marfa’ and wooden strips called ‘thapi’.

“Each instrument forms an integral part of the band, and if played together gives a pulsating rhythm,” says Salaam Basher, a second generation musician at Shah Ali Banda. (మరింత…)