Al Azi is a traditional Emirati art of poetry recital. It is performed by desert dwellers and poets from the Al Ain Oasis region of the emirate Abu Dhabi. Although concentrated around the Al Ain Region, the art has spread to many parts of the United Arab Emirates. It has been adopted by many tribes, such as the Shuhouh tribe of Ras Al Khaimah.
Al Azi poetry does not comprise instrumental backing. It is delivered by a lead performer, backed by a chorus of male vocalists. The lead poet recites a prearranged piece of traditional rhythmic poetry, in which the rhythm of each verse varies from the previous. The poetry is normally infused with verses and sayings of traditional wisdom.
Al Azi is classified as an oral performance art. It is associated with social rituals and relations. Al Azi is an important folk art for Emiratis. It fosters social cohesion and unity as well as strengthens the affinity to their homeland. The art form has been passed down through the ages, with each generation of poets inheriting it from those who came before them. Therefore, Emiratis are keen on safeguarding it as an art form and to preserve the writings of the great poets of the past.
Al Azi is a popular centerpiece of weddings and national celebrations.
It is a reception ritual for officials and state guests.
Al Taghrooda is a popular form of traditional Bedouin chanted poetry.
It is composed by poets and recited by men travelling on camelback through the desert. The art form is traditionally practiced in UAE by tribes known for their interest in raising camels. The traditional art is common in the western region and the city of Al Ain in addition to certain Bedouin communities around the mountainous areas of Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah and the inhabitants of small agricultural villages. Elderly people gather there to recite poems to an audience of family members.
The new communities that have formed around the camel markets in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain are also key locations for these groups.