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date: 15 October 2019


  • Christian Poché


Country located in the Horn of Africa. Djibouti came under French rule in 1863 as Côte Française des Somalis and later as Territoire Français des Afars et des Issas. It became independent in 1977 and has since been a member of the League of Arab States. The population is approximately 590,000, consisting primarily of Afars (also called Danakils by Arabs), a nomadic people who live in the northern part of the country, with the town of Tadjoura as their main centre; of Somalis, also nomads, previously known as Issas, who are scattered in the southern part of the country; and of Arabs of Yemenite descent who settled in the urban coastal towns, mostly in the capital, Djibouti. Islam is the official religion.

The musical activities of the peoples of Djibouti, mostly nomadic and living in the desert, did not attract much attention in the past. Before the establishment of French authority in the port of Djibouti in the 1860s, the country was regarded as only a road linking the coast to the interior. Observations on musical activity can be found in the writings of the British traveller Richard Burton, mostly on dances (...

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