Al-Azi was performed regularly by desert communities across the United Arab Emirates until the mid-20th century, when the practice became less widespread as people began moving to cities in large numbers. With support from the community, government authorities and growing Emirati interest in preserving heritage, Al-Azi has since been revived. It is regularly performed at weddings, national celebrations and religious holidays, as well as other special events and ceremonies.
Al-Azi performances have strengthened communal bonds and served as an important means of passing down traditions, knowledge and the Bedouin way of relating to nature.
Drawing inspiration from both colloquial Nabati and classic Arabic poetry, the main theme of Al-Azi poetry is pride in one’s family, tribe or rulers. In Al-Azi verse, the poet speaks about generosity, courage and other qualities that exemplify the greatness of the poem’s subject.