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Who are the heroes, hustlers and innovators of Kurdish wedding music?

In marathon-like Kurdish weddings that can last for days, local wedding singers steer their audiences between folk songs, national anthems and even techno music.

Abdullah Herki wails, “Come out! Where’s the groom?” before his keyboardist blazes into a frenetic solo to get the wedding crowd in Dohuk, a city in Iraqi Kurdistan, onto the dance floor. Dancers intertwine their pinky fingers and the line dance snakes around the hall, with the bride’s brother in front, whirling the cushion the newlyweds will later use to consummate their wedding.

Kurdish weddings can last days, evoking a marathon. One wedding guest explained to Al-Monitor, “This is the moment we all wait for. Everything leads up to the wedding.” Given the importance of weddings in Kurdish culture, musicians play a key role in curating a sonic aesthetic for the festivity.

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