Soundwalk N.3: Souq Waqif

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Field recording, Doha

5:38

Recorded while walking in Souq Waqif at Doha, Qatar. Souq Waqif is an old, traditional labyrinthine marker near the city's waterfront but recently restorated, and more preciasly rebuild again from the schratch. In Doha, even the thinks that look old, which are not so many anyway,in reality they aren't. So, even if the "cobbled lanes and white washed buildings, made using traditional Qatari architectural elements including mud rendered walls and exposed timber beams, look to be from a bygone era. Yet the souq is less than five (six) years old".     

Inside this souq, there is a special section -the bird souq- where various birds and other animals are displayed for sale. I recorded the sounds from the birds in overcrowded cages and the market sounds. 

It's interesting how the sounds contribute to the feeling that you walk in an ancient market. In a strange way, the conditions that the birds and animals are displayed, handled and sold are also connected to certain time in the history that has been considered past. 

So, this revival  of a certain space in the history of the city is based on activities, sounds, smells, merchandises and commodities that come from the past but delivered in a new context of consumption. I can't say if this space is really a product of the city's needs and local people's expectations to reserve a memory of how the most popular and historical spot of the city  used to be  and if still such a place makes sence to their everyday lives. Or, the main reason for its existence is for the state of Qatar to present another touristic option, an alternative or supplamentary to big malls and other commercial markets and places. In any case, despite the new housing of the traditional arabic markets, the type of commodities that can be found and the bargain that associates every sell and buy keeps the old spirit alive and make these places intersting to visit, explore and get lost in the lanes. cobbled 

More information about this place can be found here.  


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