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Thread: Attan - Afghanistan's National Dance

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    Default Attan - Afghanistan's National Dance



    Attan is a traditional Afghan dance; It's origin lies in the Afghan tribes pagan yester-years and usually involved men performing a ritual dance. This was later modified into a Muslim dance of soldiers to allow the dancers to get 'closer to God' before they advance on their missions. It was noted by the Moghuls of the period and is unique to Afghans.



    It is performed usually with a Dhol, which is a double-headed barrel drum that has a very deep and low resonance sound. Other instruments can include a single barreled Dhol, Tablas, the 18-stringed Robab, Surnai flute (aka shanai-India, zurna - Central Asia and Turkey, and zurla Macedonia), or wooden flute known as a Toola. The technique behind the Attan has changed much for over centuries, but its base has not changed. Its a circular dance ranging from two to over a hundred people, and the performers will follow each other going round and round in a circle to the beat as the rhythm and beats faster.



    More complex Attans involve an Attan troup leader who begins the attan slowly using a variation of styles and techniques, and the ultimate spin is performed after the leader gives the signal, either by placing his hand on the floor or raising it in the air. The musicians perform the music at the technique of the leader and is fully dependent on the attan leader for guidance. The dance can be anywhere from 5 minute to 30 minutes long. The attan will end when no dancer is left standing on the dance floor.



    It is not uncommon for a dancer to faint during the performance as it is very physically intensive. The dance has become very popular throughout Afghanistan and can be performed year-round in all festive occasions. In Afghanistan each valley has its own unique style.



    There are many different kinds of Attan in Afghanistan, Kabuli, Wardaki, Logari, Khosti/Paktia, Herati, Kochyano, Khattak, Pashayi (played with Surnai flute), and Nuristani.

    -----------
    Here is a list of Attans I think I can describe pretty well. All these different styles may be practiced and mixed by Afghans in other valleys, and its not uncommon to see Afghans of one province being better at a different regions' style.

    Kabuli



    Kabuli Attan - In this dance, the dancers perform to the beat of the musician. This dance typically performed by men & women. It involves 2-5 steps, ending with a clap given while facing the center, after which the process is repeated again. The hip and arms are put in a sequential movement including left and right tilts, with the wrists twisting in sequence, with ultimately a hand is projected outward and brought in a 'scoop-like' fashion towards the center where the other hand meets it for a clap. This dance is typically performed with the musician dictating the duration and speed.

    Wardaki



    Wardaki consists of body movements no clapping and lots of turns and twists, and Spotting, as well as handkerchiefs in their hands to accentuate their spins. The men usually boast wild mustaches, including hair that is greased as to accentuate the spotting and give more weight to the hair during turns. This dance is performed either with the beat of the musician or the musician tuning the beat the technique of the performers.

    Logari



    Logari dancers have always been known for their shyness and also for their rythmic interruptions & spins during their local dance. Their attan also has the trademark spins of the Logari style, uses the clapping and the full twists in place as arms are usually in the air and come together medially during the circular dance with one or two claps in the center. It is not uncommon to see one ore two circles in one. This dance typically performed by men and/or women or even young boys and/or girls. The men occasionally wear Turbans and they are taken off usually during the end of the dance when the beats get faster.



    The sweat on their heads from wearing the Turban, puts added weight to their hair. This dance is performed either with the beat of the musician or the musician tuning the beat the technique of the performers.

    Paktia/Khosti



    Paktia/Khosti is typically a 5-7 step and can be longer. It is also interesting because of the head movements the head is snapped left & right as their long jet black hair fling through the air, and eventually ends with the dancers turned medially and squatting with arms to their sides towards the center. This dance is performed with the musician tuning the beat to the technique of the performers.

    Kochyano/Kuchi



    Kochyano Attan or literally Attan of the Kuchi. Women usually perform this attan during their own occasions, such as child birth or new years (nou rooz) and coming of spring. The men usually perform with long hair, almost to shoulder length and cut straight across the back, and some may sport a very wild mustache or beard. It is usually performed with Handkerchiefs, and involves lots of spotting movements, with multiple twists and squatting. This dance can be up to 10 steps, and also involve men walking with their knees or standing erect and snapping their head in random directions to the beat of the Dhol. The depth and complexity of their Attan may be because of the wide range of valleys they trek, and it may have been influenced by many other forms. This dance is performed with the musician tuning the beat to the technique of the performers.

    Khattak



    Khattak style is deeply routed during the Moghul period where men performed this dance with their weapons in their hands. A Khattak dancer performs with the zeal of a hero, displaying his physical fitness through body movements, while holding one, two or even three swords at a time. Each sword weighs about one-and-a-half kilograms. The dance is a 5 step routine involving spins, with the swords crossed over their backs and elbows outward, or it can be performed with the swords out to the sides and typical attan half spin in place leading to a full spin. Depending on the rythm of the beat, this spin can be completely reversed in full synchrocity. This dance is performed with the musician tuning the beat to the technique of the performers.

    Nuristani



    Nuristani Attan is a relatively new attan performed by Nuristanis and involves the use of their own local musical instruments including their own style of drum shown above, and stringed instrument, known as the Wunz, and also the Sarani. This dance was performed by both men and women. The women usually hold hands together or are shoulder to shoulder and came closer to the circle during the central beat. Another version performed across the border in Chitral consists of a dancer stepping in the middle and starting to dance. They will dance very slowly taking small steps and arms spread wide. Gradually, the steps increase speed and finally he will spin round and round encouraged by the clapping of the hands and enthusiastic shouts made by the audience. It is also very focused upon the movement of the shoulders and the elegant moves of the wrists.

    Some Attan Videos
    1. View Swedish Afghan Cultural Center Attan Performance
    2. Childrens Attan Video
    3. Men Doing Attan in a Party
    4. Mohammadullah Katawazai - De Paghman de chaman gula (Video)

    ---------------
    This article was copied from another forum which was prepared by Midnight sun

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    omar jan that's a very nice topic that you posted. I love attan. i know how to do four kinds of attan besides the regular ones. do you know how to do attan? :proud:
    Ka surat da Mohammad nawai paida,
    Paida karre ba khudai nawai daa dunya.
    Suraya D.

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    Originally posted by suraya
    omar jan that's a very nice topic that you posted. I love attan. i know how to do four kinds of attan besides the regular ones. do you know how to do attan? :proud:
    Yes, I know a mixture of Paktiawal and Wardaki. My friends and I always do attan whenever we get a chance in a park or in some Mela.

    Mainly to Baryalai Samadio and Dawood Hanif songs.

    One of My Favourite Attan Songs by Baryalai Samadi

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    Great post Omar jan. I have also heard the origins of this dance is actually Greek. The period when Alexander the great was in the area. So the name of " attan " is very similar to the city of Greece , athens. I am not sure how much of that is the truth but thats what i heard. Also, there are some Greek tribes that still live in or around afghanistan ( more in the pakistan areas), who still speak greek. They also perform this dance.

    It is funny when you do some research on these things, you find out that cultural and traditions are so much transparant. Another example is " qabili", the great food we enjoy. Well, from what I understand is that Qabili is originally from Turkey, and during the ottomon empire, the soliders and other turks exported this food to central Asia and thats how we afghans originally were exposed to Qabili.

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    Originally posted by Nainawaaz
    Great post Omar jan. I have also heard the origins of this dance is actually Greek. The period when Alexander the great was in the area. So the name of " attan " is very similar to the city of Greece , athens. I am not sure how much of that is the truth but thats what i heard. Also, there are some Greek tribes that still live in or around afghanistan ( more in the pakistan areas), who still speak greek. They also perform this dance.

    It is funny when you do some research on these things, you find out that cultural and traditions are so much transparant. Another example is " qabili", the great food we enjoy. Well, from what I understand is that Qabili is originally from Turkey, and during the ottomon empire, the soliders and other turks exported this food to central Asia and thats how we afghans originally were exposed to Qabili.
    I am not quite sure about Attan relating to Greece, but we surely have alot of influentials from other countries.

    Don't forget to add Baghlawa to the list of food brought by the Greeks!

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    omar jan i am glad that you listen to baryalai samadi and dawud hanif's attan songs cause they are my favorite. I love the attan song by dawud hanif called " daa ghroona ghroona afghanistan dai"

    p.s. where in afghanistan are you from?:?
    Ka surat da Mohammad nawai paida,
    Paida karre ba khudai nawai daa dunya.
    Suraya D.

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    Originally posted by suraya
    omar jan i am glad that you listen to baryalai samadi and dawud hanif's attan songs cause they are my favorite. I love the attan song by dawud hanif called " daa ghroona ghroona afghanistan dai"

    p.s. where in afghanistan are you from?:?
    My dad is from Kunarr province, and mom from Kabul.

    Da Ghrouna Ghrouna Afghanistan De is a good Attan song, but not fast enough for me.

    I am working on putting another album in Virtual Afgahns Music Section called "The Best of Dawood Hanif" in which I will put his best selected Attan songs.

    Try to find the remake of the song "Narai Baraan De" by Dawood Hanif, the new one, not the old old one. Thats a beautiful song as well.

    Another favourite by Dawood Hanif is Pa Jama De Malangi.

    Click here to download Pa Jama De Malangi by Dawood Hanif.


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    thanks omar. yeah that was really nice. also the song by nasrat parsa called " pa wapashai lawang de paizeena" is very nice which jawid sharif also sang but changed the music and kept hte same verses.
    listen to the last part of " da ghroona ghroona afghanistan dai" it get's fasteer. btw the song by barialai samadi that you posted in another forum that's 20 min long was very nice.
    Ka surat da Mohammad nawai paida,
    Paida karre ba khudai nawai daa dunya.
    Suraya D.

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    Originally posted by suraya
    thanks omar. yeah that was really nice. also the song by nasrat parsa called " pa wapashai lawang de paizeena" is very nice which jawid sharif also sang but changed the music and kept hte same verses.
    listen to the last part of " da ghroona ghroona afghanistan dai" it get's fasteer. btw the song by barialai samadi that you posted in another forum that's 20 min long was very nice.
    Salam again Suraya,
    Da Ghroona Ghroona Afghanistan is a good song, definately, love the words, but I am more into Jawid Sharif and Baryalai Samadi type of fast songs. That Dawood Hanif song is too slow for mw now lol.

    Check out this song by Dawood Hanif called

    Narai Baraan De

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    hey omar when i click on th song it doesn't work it's say we can't open this page or something like taht.
    Ka surat da Mohammad nawai paida,
    Paida karre ba khudai nawai daa dunya.
    Suraya D.

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    Hey Suraya,
    I am working on another attan album for Virtual Afghans music and I will post the link tonight.

    Khoda Hafiz for now

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    Great info.. thx

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    thanks
    Ka surat da Mohammad nawai paida,
    Paida karre ba khudai nawai daa dunya.
    Suraya D.

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    Originally posted by Omar

    I am working on putting another album in Virtual Afgahns Music Section called "The Best of Dawood Hanif" in which I will put his best selected Attan songs.

    :o :o YOU ROCK!!!! :cool: Cant Wait!!! :bleh:

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    Default Re: Attan - Afghanistan's National Dance

    Originally posted by Omar
    [B
    Wardaki



    Wardaki consists of body movements no clapping and lots of turns and twists, and Spotting, as well as handkerchiefs in their hands to accentuate their spins. The men usually boast wild mustaches, including hair that is greased as to accentuate the spotting and give more weight to the hair during turns. This dance is performed either with the beat of the musician or the musician tuning the beat the technique of the performers.

    ---------------
    This article was copied from another forum which was prepared by Midnight sun [/B]
    Thats where im from! :proud:

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    Where did you learn Attan Omar jan, did you learn it on your own?

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    Originally posted by RaaZ-e-Khamoshi
    Where did you learn Attan Omar jan, did you learn it on your own?
    Unfortunately yes, mainly with online videos and doing it with friends in parties and picnics. It had alot to do with my personal interest and love for this beautiful yet manly traditional dance.

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    salaam to every1. Here is some info. on attan. Enjoy



    Pashtoons possess a rich culture with all the ruggedness on the one hand and all the softness, romance and beauties on the other. The Pashtoon dances have been defined as a symbol of courage and heroism and present the desire and readiness of a tribe to go into a battle field for Jehad. With heavy and insistent drumming, the dancers who are always male move with uniform rhythm and steps. They dance usually in circles or columns holding different items of daily life (swords, guns, handkerchiefs, etc.) in their hands and mix the crude sounds of their possessions with the rhythm of drums and surnayi (flutes).



    Among the dozens of different folk dances known as Atanrh, some are as follow.

    Khattak Wal Atanrh
    This is a dance of the Khattak tribe and now it is the Pakistan national Dance. It is completely men dance. It is originated from the ancient war exercises by the Khattak tribe. Before going to the battlefield the warrior, Khattak used to dance as their warming up. It is danced with the drumbeat in a particular rhythm. First, the drummer starts with a slow tune, and the dancers hawing swords in their hand come and start dancing in a circle slowly. After some time one large circle is formed, or two circles, whirling swords in their hand and step on according to the beats of the drum. They step on in a circle. It requires the highest skill. The sword of the nearby dancer can injure anyone. As the circle completes, the beats of the drums raise high and the steps and movement gets momentum in the second phase of the dance. In the third phase, The beats go fast and high and so is the dancer till the time of a wonderful jubilation. Then both the teammates sit on ground and the saraki or captain of a team starts running in along circle. He is chased by two players of the opponent DANGAI and try to catch him and make him fall. If they succeed in making fall the running player, he is given out. During the running, the first running player tries to hit the chasing player with his hand. If he succeeds in touching the chasing player, then they are given out, by successfully completing his running to the place where his teammates are sitting. Another of his team player starts running the same way. In the game one of the team losses all the players in this way. Those who get out one by one are the losers and the other is winner. It is a very interesting game and requires complete physical fitness. Elderly people and the persons with less stamina are withdrawn one by one, to the outer circle they retire and the dance is going on. Those who can step properly to the beat of the drum in fast moving and can artistically move back and forward and get round about remains. After getting tired, this practice is not carried on further and the person sits and is replaced by the other. It is an artistic as well as exertion game, requiring dance and needs complete command on foot and hand and head. Because rhythmic movement of the head is also part of the dance.

    Zulfiqar Khan of the Daily Dawn Islamabad describes the Khattak Dance in a very interesting manner in his article which was published in a special edition of the newspaper.

    Mahsood Wal Atanrh
    It is too a warrior dance and is special among the hard Mahsood tribe. Originally it is used to dance at the time of war, but latter on became a cultural dance. They dance empty handed and require only large drums. The dancer shows a tremendous jubilation while dancing. Nowadays it is danced with the guns in the dancers hand; loaded guns are taken in one hand, up to the beat of the drum the dancers move forward in a circle. After taking two and half steps each dancer return go turn about, and make up the gun and is caught with the other hand. All the dancers do this in a uniform manner and by completing the turning steps they fire in the air simultaneously. The sound of each of the guns goes on one time and seems to be single big bang. It is a thrilling dance and requires complete skill and practice for stepping as well command on rifle or gun, otherwise humiliation is faced by those who are unable to go with these thrilling sounds.

    Shah Dola
    Shah Dolla is the name of the dance specified for the Pashtoon tribe of Yusufzai. It is purely a dance for happiness and merriment, often danced at some happy occasion. It is too danced in a circle around the drummers. According to the beats of the drum the dancer move forward in a circle. With the first beat they open the hands and bring one foot back, with the succeeding beat both the hands are brought together, so is the back foot. With the third beat of the drum the hands clapped and head bowed to the inner side of the circle. The clapping of hands and putting the foot back are done together, so that to make a tune with the sound of the clapping and drum beat. It is too an artistic dance and requires complete timing of the clapping.

    Taleban Atanrh
    Nowadays the tradition of dancing by the Taleban has reduced to a considerable extent. The religious students studying in the religious schools perform a dance which they called the Atanrh of the Taleban. Those Taleban who lived in the boarding houses in religious schools used to have this dance for entertainment, before going to bed. With rhythmic clapping of hands they used to dance together disorderly or in order. This was just like exercise but had rhythm in it specially the clapping of hands and foot work.

    Waziro Atanrh
    Waziristan is a large area and has particular Pashtoon culture. Wazir dance is popular among the Wazir who are warrior-like tribe but Wazir dance is beautiful cultural phenomenon. Two drummers and a flute player play a particular tune. All the Wazirs standing around them. Two persons leave the circle; go dancing towards the drummers, and come back dancing in the same manner. During performing both the persons turn around two times at a time once towards each other facing face to face and once keeping faces in opposite direction. After doing this separately they march while dancing to the assembled crowd. As they reach the circle another pair of the performers start and moving forward in the same fashion.
    Ka surat da Mohammad nawai paida,
    Paida karre ba khudai nawai daa dunya.
    Suraya D.

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    Logari Atanrh
    Logaray is a very artistic dance one person or two or more can dance together to the tune of orchestra. Actually Logaray is the name of the area in Afghanistan where this special tune is played by a large traditional orchestra. Boys or girls dance to this tune. It is a beautiful dance because so many variations occur in it in the drum beat. The moment the drum and other instrument are given a pause the dancer sits, by starting again slowly. The dancer slowly rises from the ground and again starts dancing with the tune. Sometime abruptly sitting and abruptly starting of the tune gives appears attractively. Besides the drum beat the harmonium is also used to provide tune to the dancing.

    The dance of the Logar Valley is renowned throughout the Pashtoon lands. It is famous for its shy yet coquette nature in which the dancers freeze suddenly during the dramatic stops in the music. The main musical instruments are the stringed Rabab and the ceramic chalice drum Zerbaghalai. The rhythm is sometimes accentuated by bells on the ankles of the dancers.

    Marwat Wala Atanrh
    Marwat too is a large tribe of the Pashtoons. They have a particular cultural dance of their own, very much resembling the Wazir dance but can be dance for played one by one and by a large number of participants in a circle. The participants grow their hair long enough so that they can be tossed from side to side while they are turning their heads around in violent jerks. This is also done by the Wazir and the Mahsud tribes.

    Bhittani Atanrh
    The Bhittani Tribe's dance is truly a sight to see due to the colorful jackets with gold embroidery and the white clothes that the dancers wear. The Shirt is a long gown which is like a swirling top when the dancer turns around and around. In his hands, the dancers will hold red, green or blue clothes. Bhittani Tribesmen dance in round circles with elegant footwork combined with colorful wavering of their large colorful clothes.

    Chitrali Atanrh
    Chitralis love to sing and dance. Though ethnically not Pashtoons, they have adapted their own form of Atanrh known as the Chitrali Atanrh. Any Chitralis can sing and dance but there are also some "experts " that form a group and gather whenever there is an occasion. These people are not professional musicians but mere music lovers. Usually the group consists of 8-10 persons: one or two singers that sing the verse alternatively, a sitar player and a jerrican player. The rest will clap their hands and dance one by one.

    Whenever a song starts, a dancer steps in the middle and starts to dance. He will dance very slowly taking small steps and arms spread wide. Gradually, the steps increase speed and finally he will spin round and round encouraged by the clapping of the hands and enthusiastic shouts made by the audience. The dancer is empty handed most of the time but on special occasions, he might be brandishing a sword. The Chitrali Atanrh is very focused upon the movement of the shoulders and the elegant moves of the wrists.

    Balbala
    Balbala is a Pashtoon cultural dance and common every where but is mostly played and danced in southern tribes. Drummers and flute players in the center play a particular tune and the persons go dancing around them. In the start it is slow but gets moment fast with the drum beat. They whirl and move fast in the circle. It is a cultural dance and performed by the youth on some happy occasions. Apart from these dances, which are called Atanrh, other cultural dances are also performed by the professional or non-professional dancers. One or two professional female dancers dance on different occasions. The times for different dances are specified.

    Spin Takray
    Speen Takray is a dance performed by a single professional female dancer. In this dance, a special tune of orchestra is played on. This is a saz particular for Pushto cultural folk songs. The dancer wraps with shawl and hides the face and head. Then he dances like a newly wedded bride.


    Ka surat da Mohammad nawai paida,
    Paida karre ba khudai nawai daa dunya.
    Suraya D.

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