“Music is food for the soul, so feed your souls.”
This is what Rula Jaradat, founder and manager of Naya Women’s Music Band فرقة “نايا” الموسيقية النسائية and an all-female music band teacher at Yarmouk University, Jordan, told Nagham Taza.
Although the idea of a women’s musical troupe was suggested to Jordan’s Ministry of Culture prior to 2011, it was repeatedly shut down. Fortunately, in 2011, the idea was embraced, and the all-female musical band was established in Jordan.
Having the dream of starting her own band for years, Jaradat chose her band members carefully, and out of the 20 musicians she was in contact with, she settled with 12. Within the band, the women play the qanun, piano, oud, flute amongst other instruments. Jaradat specializes in playing the qanun and Arabic singing. This was the beginning of a creation that Jaradat described as
“an artistic, humanist and feminist project all in one, focusing on traditional Arab music performed in a professional yet simple manner.”
The premise that Naya draws on is that women should be a part of not just a few fields in society but should be present in all. Jaradat wants Naya to “serve women’s issues” and rights. Naya aims to increase the cultural standing of women in Jordan and the Middle East. The troupe has stood strong for the past five years providing Jordan and the Arab world with performances, and as Jaradat puts it
“The idea is to musically empower women in society, so that they may be represented in all areas. Our goal is not to challenge men, as some might think.”
Having an all-female band is relatively new to Jordan and the Middle East, and we hope many more female initiatives arise.
If you support Naya’s objective of contributing to the prosperity of society through women empowerment, then go ahead and like their Facebook page.
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For our Arabic version of this article click here: نايا” الأولى من نوعها في الأردن”