Middle Eastern – Al Mahala

Salaam Aleikum!

Gulf Wars presents a magical opportunity for the SCA re-enactor to explore the widest possible range of historical activities. This twenty-five year tradition of rich diversity of topics is well represented within the microcosm of al Mahala, offering classes in cuisine, music, dance, garb, arts and sciences of not only The Levant, the Arabian Peninsula and Persia, but also China, Japan, India, Andalusia; Ottoman and Silk Road regions as well.

Classes at al Mahala

This is a living document and subject to change!

Al-Mahala is a great place to learn and teach all kinds of things about cultures along the Silk Road (and North Africa, and many other places). From boot-making to dance to poetry, the range of possibilities is vast. We need your help to build the class schedule, though! If you taught last year, please consider teaching again.

If you still wish to teach a class we do have some space – please submit it via the main Gulf Wars class submission form and indicate Al Mahala as the area in which you wish to teach the class.

Contact Al-Mahala with other questions or ideas here.

Events at al Mahala

  • MONDAY SAMRA: Monday night we’ll kick off the week with our opening night samra. Come share music, dance, and good company! Starts at 8:00 pm and goes until midnight, or whenever everyone tires out.
  • TUESDAY BLOCK PARTY: Starting at 8:00 pm until we’re all too tired to dance is our annual Block Party! The dance tent is open and waiting for you to dance in it! Come enjoy live music! Good company! Dancing! (Did we mention dancing?)
  • WEDNESDAY INDIA PERSONA SOCIAL: 6 PM Join this serene Indian social gathering for storytelling, conversation, and music.
  • THURSDAY SAMRA** and ANDALUSIAN SOCIAL: Join us Thursday at 8:00 (ish) in the Al-Mahala Dance Tent, to pay homage to the medieval salons of Baghdad and Alhambra including the talents of  Middle Eastern melody players and dancers. This will feature many of the quieter melody line players as possible (Oud, Qanoon, ney, fiddle, saz, vielle). Percussionists will be welcome as well but we will be limiting these to 2 per tune; a frame drum is highly recommended.  This civilized gathering focuses on the more historically accurate dance and music of the regions, and offers the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely chess game, partake of some light refreshment, and the soak in the ambience of a time gone by.

For questions or more information:  Contact Al Mahala

You can also join us on our Facebook Group* for up to date information on al Mahala classes, camping, and events!

**What’s a Samra?

The samra/ Zambra is a celebration attributed to the al-Andalus era of Southern Spain. ‘Samra’ in Arabic means a spontaneous celebration of dance and music, that takes place all night long. Originally the Arabic term ‘Samra’ was used to describe the noises made by the sounds of lively crowds and certain musical instruments, such as in a party or celebration. Also referred to as ‘Zambra’ in the Spanish language, documents dated to the 1600’s describe the Zambra as festivities with the music of wind instruments such as the sounds of pipes and flutes.