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Music

    Moroccan music festival seeks harmonious 'soul' of globalization
Event draws wide diaspora of tune-carrying spiritualists
By Agence France Presse (AFP) Monday, June 05, 2006
FEZ, Morocco: As world musicians turned up in this ancient town for a festival of religious music, political figures and thinkers sat under an oak tree over the weekend debating ways of bringing spiritual harmony to the globalized world. "Globalization has no meaning unless it has a soul, a universal collective vision that can give it a direction, that can act to transform the world," said Mohammad Kabbaj, president of the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music.  MORE

     Marrakech Berbers sing to survive
Berber tribes in the Moroccan city of Marrakech are using musical talents once developed as a means of identity to get together money to live.
The bands, which include boys as young as six, perform in Marrakech's most popular areas in the hope of attracting cash. In particular they are present in the Jamaa El Fna Square, which has a longstanding reputation as a carnival centre in an increasingly conservative country. "They do it for survival," Moroccan travel writer Yusuf Elalamy told BBC World Service's Masterpiece programme. "It's performance, it's openair, it's spontaneous, but they expect you to give something in return....

    Christian Rock for Muslims By SAMUEL LOEWENBERG New York Times: May 10, 2005
MARRAKESH, Morocco, May 9 - In a sprawling open space alongside the Royal Palace here last Saturday night, Baimik Youness and his friend Salahe Boudde were jumping with excitement, about to see their first American rock concert. The Moroccan students had never heard of the band, Rock 'n' Roll Worship Circus. Nor had they realized that the three-day concert they were attending was a Christian rock festival.  "It's not my business," said Mr. Youness, an 18-year-old Muslim and heavy-metal fan. "I just want to listen to the music."But Mr. Boudde had a question: "What are 'evangelicals'?"

Last weekend's concert, organized by several American evangelical groups and the Moroccan government and called the Friendship Fest, was staged despite criticism from Moroccan Islamic groups and opposition political parties. Seven American Christian bands alternated with Moroccan groups. The event drew more than 15,000 Moroccans a day, police officials estimated, as well as dozens of evangelical Christians from around the United States. MORE

    A Couscous of Cultures, Simmered for Centuries in Morocco
September 22, 2003 By ANNE MIDGETTE New York Times

It is a sign of Western cultural bias that the term "classical music" is commonly understood to apply to only the music of North America and Europe, although "world music" (an equally catchall term) includes many traditions that are even older. The Orchestra of Fès, which played at Zankel Hall on Saturday night, was founded in Morocco in 1946, but the Arab Andalusian music it plays goes back to the ninth century. For Western audiences the word orchestra conjures up visions of vast ensembles, but here it was six male instrumentalists joined by a singer, Françoise Atlan. Since the Middle Ages the instrumentation of ensembles devoted to this repertory notable for its blend of Spanish, Muslim and Jewish influences has changed considerably. The original diminutive lute morphed into the six stringed oud of Egypt; the traditional tar, a small tambourine that sets and accents the tempo, was joined by a goblet shaped drum called a darbuka; and in the 19thcentury Western violins and violas were added, here held upright on the players' knees and bowed like violas da gamba. But there was nothing the least bit antiquated about the performance: this group could teach classical music a lot about keeping traditions alive. The Andalusian repertory was codified in the 18th century into 11 lengthy cycles called nubat; because the shortest of these extends over five CD's when performed in its entirety, the usual practice is to play individual movements from a cycle, and a more recent trend is, as this orchestra did, to combine parts of several nubat in new sets, allowing the ensemble to put its stamp on the music. Texts range from Spanish Jewish folk songs to songs about the prophet Muhammad. The components of each set are separated by vocal or instrumental solos: musings on the oud, or cascades of minorkey runs descending on the violin over a sustained drone from the viola; or the silvery singing of Ms. Atlan, delicate as filigree, drawing the strings behind her in echo. At other times the instruments joined in rousing ensembles, and Ms. Atlan's slender voice was swallowed up by the rougher sandpaper burr of the voices of the men in chorus, dominated by a cracking countertenor. The virtuosity was as undeniable as the appeal. At the end of this nearly two-hour concert the ensemble was joined for its encore by the rhythmic clapping of the audience in raucous accompaniment.

    THE GNAWA AND THEIR LILA: An AfroMaghrebi Ritual Tradition
by Timothy D. Fuson
The term "Gnawa" refers firstly to a North African ethnic minority that traces its origins to West African slaves and soldiers. Gnawa communities in the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) trace their origins to the Sudan, not meaning the presentday nation of Sudan, but rather subSaharan African in general. (The word "Sudan," after all, is merely the Arabic word for "the Blacks.") Thus, like the term "AfricanAmerican," Gnawa refers to a group of people whose ancestors came from diverse regions of Africa but took on a collective identity in exile. .........

    Gnawa, Moroccan Blues: A Historical Background
Chouki El Hamel Duke University December 1, 2000. (Not to be cited without prior written consent of the author.)
"The most important single element of Morocco's folk culture is its music... the entire history and mythology of the people is clothed in song." [1]Paul Bowles Musically, Morocco is heterogeneous, and this heterogeneity reflects the variety of Moroccan culture. From secular urban professionals and religious singers to rural and nomadic singers. From historic and traditional to modern to Raï music. We find the classical Andalusian style, reflecting Morocco's historic relationship with Spain. We find Sephardic music and other folksongs from the historic Jewish communities in Essaouira and Fez. We also find Gnawa; the music originally derived from West Africa that demonstrates the influence of migrations and cultural interchanges across the Sahara.......

    Rapping from the Heart Raymzter's DutchMoroccan rap is challenging racial stereotypes and the music is pretty good, too
By ABI DARUVALLA/AMSTERDAM
The big, bad reputation of Dutch Moroccan rapper Raymzter is dented within minutes of meeting him. He shakes hands politely, is softspoken, and offers a cup of coffee. Reclining on a floral couch he displays none of the rebel attitude that makes his stage performances such a hit. Raymzter (pronounced rhymster) is the sort of rapper you could take home to meet the parents. In fact, it's the parents of Raymzter's.....................

    Zaphod Beeblebrox & Vertical Management Group Present From Marrakech, Morocco B'NET MARRAKECH, "The Women Of Marrakech" .
Wednesday, July 10/ 2002
B'NET MARRAKECH, "The women of Marrakech", are of Berber origin, from the villages near Taroudant, southeast of Marrakech. ........

    You have to take your hat off to the Fez festival.
(Filed: 15/06/2002)
The medieval city offered ritual chants, brass bands from Harlem and an astrophysicist from Vietnam. Allah be praised, says Peter Culshaw..........

    Ray Lema & Tyour Gnaoua.
Safi (Buda Musique/Tinder) by Matt Cibula PopMatters Music and Books Critic
Tyour Gnaoua is not a person it is a performance collective based in Morocco. Like all gnaoua (or gnawa) groups, it consists of musicians, dancers, fortunetellers, and their students all the descendants of former slaves from all over the sub-Saharan region........

    Sounds of Morocco: Simon Broughton chooses the best music from this diverse country.
THE appeal of Morocco lies in its colour, history and exoticism - and it's all there in the music, which has enticed musicians such as Paul Bowles, Jimi Hendrix, Ornette Coleman and, of course, the Rolling Stones.

   Malika Oufkir: the American Making of a Moroccan Star.
By Mokhtar Ghambou

   Rhythm & Belief: African America calls across the water.
by Greg Burk, August 24 - 30, 2001
What everybody's doing here revolves around the throb and rattle of Gnaoua music. Gnaoua is an old sound, with a history that parallels that of Western Hemisphere blues, jazz and reggae, so the idea of reuniting the continents isn't that artificial. The ancestors of the modern Gnaoua brotherhood came to North Africa as sub-Saharan slaves in the 1500s, around the same time that African tribespeople were first kidnapped and shipped to NewWorld auction blocks.

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