The daf, an important musical instrument, is strongly associated with Kurdish struggle to preserve their culture. Made of goat’s skin, its tones are enhanced with metal hoops attached to the rim.
Image: David Loram
Source: David Loram
Kurdish music and folk dance have played a vital role in the survival of Kurdish culture and its preservation within the Kurdish community in Australia.
There are three types of Kurdish classical performers: storytellers (çîrokbêj), minstrels (stranbêj) and bards (dengbêj). Many songs are epic ballads, recounting the tales of Kurdish heroes or the sorrow of separation and unfulfilled love. Music is also closely tied to religious ceremonies and the transitions of life.
Traditional instruments found in all parts of Kurdistan are the tembûr, bilûr, zirne, dahol and daf, and these are also used by Kurdish musicians in Australia. The last decade has seen Kurdish music greatly influenced by Western music, creating Kurdish pop and Kurdish hip-hop.
In contrast to the evolution and diversification of Kurdish music, Kurdish folk dance in Australia has remained true to its roots. It is a form of line dancing, with one or two figure dancers often added to the centre of the dancing circle. The dances tell of the customs, traditions and everyday life of Kurdish people, enacting work, the marriage ceremony and notable battles and wars. The dances are always performed to live music played on traditional instruments.