Friday morning is quite in Baghdad. No cars are allowed in Al Mutanabbie street.
Went walking calmly.
It was calm.
You can hear what people are saying to each other as they pass you by. Those are talking about how much Picasso was selfish, while those are talking about Lenin and theatre. A book seller would utter a part of a famous Iraqi poem.
As you would approach then end of the road, near Al Shabender Café you would be welcomed warmly by a wooden wagon. A very nice warm wagon filled with Baghdad history.
Everything in it is marvelous and drives you to take a walk around it. On its wall you read: “the high shelves, voices never forgotten”. It is filled with tape cassettes and CDs of Iraqi music, movies, and pieces of theatre. A man would approach you with a Baghdadi costume and a calming smile.
You would smile as you find what you need by the help of the man’s knowledge about the Iraqi music and musicians. Your smile will get wider as the man introduces himself and give you a present: “as you are interested in traditional music, I would like to give you a present, a DVD of my own performance of Baghdadi Muraba’at”. He would handed you the CD with his picture on it. “so you are Adnan Al Sheakhly?” you would ask him. “Yes, this is me, Adnan Al Sheakhli, a Muraba’at reader” he would say with a wide smile.
After you walk in this calm beautiful street, you find that there is still some charm left in Baghdad. Thank you Adnan Al Sheikhly for your beautiful existence, and for your original “high shelves” which remind us of our roots, and give us back our identity.
Baghdadi Muraba’at, is a style of Baghdadi singing.