The beautiful chanted Bedouin (nomadic Arab people) poetry, Taghrouda (ululation), is traditionally composed and recited by men travelling through the desert on camels. Bedouins believe this mesmerising chanting not only entertains the riders but also encourages their animals to walk in time.
Featuring a type of poetry duel, where one contestant starts with a poetry line, prompting the other to respond with a line similar in rhyme, these exchanged lines hold deep meaning, with poems made up of linguistic creativity, praise and satire. Short poems are usually improvised and repeated between two groups of riders, often as antiphonal singing, when two singers/choirs sing alternately, answering each other. Poems may be chanted at weddings, around campfires and at tribal and national festivities, particularly camel races, with some Bedouin women composing and chanting while working together. In the past, this art was often used in rural areas when two or three people searched for a lost camel, although it could also be performed on horseback to urge horses to speed up. Equestrian Taghrouda usually touches on themes of courage, bravery and generosity.
An important element of this beautiful tradition is social bonding, with poetry themes including sending messages to loved ones, family, friends, and tribal chiefs. The art also offers performers a chance to connect with their past and teach others about the rich heritage of the UAE. This style of composing and chanting is passed down through families and by community elders.