Mirwas drum

Sawt (Arabic: صوت / ALA-LC: Ṣawt; literally "voice"; also spelled sout or sowt) is a kind of popular music found in Kuwait and Bahrain.


It is said that sawt was established in Kuwait by the poet, composer, singer and oud player Abdallah al-Faraj (1836-1901/1903).[1][2] The Bahraini historian Mubārak al-'Ammārī believes that sawt was known in Kuwait before 1766, and in Bahrain since 1783.[2] Saleh and Daoud Al-Kuwaity were widely considered among one of its earliest pioneers.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]


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Sawt is a complex form of urban music, originally performed on the 'ud (plucked lute) and mirwas (a drum), with a violin later supplementing the arrangement.

Two men perform the dance, which is called "Zaffan". Al-Sout is performed only at night gatherings of men. It is called "Samra" (nightly chat).


  1. ^ a b Rolf Killius (2017). "The Cradle of Arabic Sawt Music: The Early Musician Generations in Kuwait". Qatar National Library. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Ahmad Ali AlSalhi (2021). "ṢAUT IN BAHRAIN AND KUWAIT: History and Creativity in Concept and Practice" (PDF). Royal Holloway, University of London. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "The Sawt in Kowait". Arab Sounds. 2021. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Jean Lambert (2020). "THE YEMENI SOURCES OF POETRY AND MUSIC IN THE SAWT OF THE GULF: THE ROLE OF THE ARABIAN DIASPORA IN INDIA". HAL (open archive). ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Jean Lambert (2016). "Thinking Historically, Being Present: Kuwait, Summer 2016". University of California, Los Angeles. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ Urkevich, Lisa (2008). "Crossing Paths in the Middle East: Cultural Struggles of Jewish-Kuwaiti Musicians in the 20th Century". American Historical Association.
  7. ^ "The Jews of Arabia". BBC News. 13 December 2014. Kuwaiti musicians Daoud Al-Kuwaiti (oud) and his brother Saleh (violin).

Further reading

See also