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Iraqi tambourine artisan fears his craft is disappearing

Iraqi artisan Abdel Rahman   -  
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Iraqi artisan Abdel Rahman is a master tambourine maker. He has been in this business for almost 30 years.

But now the renowned artisan fears that mass-produced tambourines are replacing the human craft.

"Making tambourines is an old traditional craft in Iraq and Kirkuk. Yet, nobody is working in it anymore. Now, the profession has turned commercial and the parts used (Ed. in making tambourines) are machine-made, It's no longer hand-made", lamented Iraqi artisan, Abdel Rahman. 

Rahman's tambourines, or "daf", are used by Sufi groups to create distinct, rhythmic tunes and melodies.

Tambourine player in a Sufi group Ali Akbar explains that "there are two types of tambourines, leather and wax. Their sounds differ, leather tambourines sound better and more sophisticated than the wax ones". (...) "As Sufis, we use the "daf" in our events, such as the Prophet’s birthday, and at some of our dedicated Sufi councils. The "daf" has its own "Maqam" (Ed. an Arabic system of melodic modes), just like the old Iraqi "Maqams", which we use to play the "daf"", concluded Ali Akbar. 

The tambourines are sold mainly in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, Samarra and Suleimaniyah in the Kurdish north.

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