Andalusian music brings Maghrebis together

The festival concluded with a breathtaking choral performance by the 80-member Nouba Al Andaloussia orchestra, including Marouane Hajji.
Sunday 02/06/2019
A living heritage. Nouba Al Andaloussia orchestra performs on stage during the Andalusian International Music Festival in Casablanca.  (Saad Guerraoui)
A living heritage. Nouba Al Andaloussia orchestra performs on stage during the Andalusian International Music Festival in Casablanca. (Saad Guerraoui)

CASABLANCA - The Andalusian International Music Festival united Maghrebis through thrilling performances by musicians from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia that transcended the region’s political divides.

Some 150 artists took part in the first edition of the festival, which took place May 23-25 under the theme “Music, Language of Knowledge.”

The festival, organised by the Casablanca City Council in cooperation with the Nouba Al Andaloussia Association, was designed to develop and perpetuate Andalusian music heritage and allow the public to appreciate its musicality and richness.

Ibrahim Cherif el-Ouazzani, president of the Nouba Al Andaloussia Association, said the festival’s programme was meant to pass the musical heritage to future generations to perpetuate the Andalusian music tradition under its various Maghrebi colours.

Andalusian music stems from Arab-Andalusian culture that thrived from the ninth through the 15th centuries. It can still be noted in many Mediterranean countries.

The festival kicked off with the Tunisian troupe Almaloufajia of Andalusian music of Monastir led by Mahmoud Frih.

“This kind of event helps consolidate relations between cultures,” said Frih.

The second evening included a Moroccan-Spanish band that entertained with a blend of flamenco and Andalusian music. The Abdelkrim Raiss orchestra, led by Mohamed Briouel, followed with songs that thrilled the audience.

The Maghrebian orchestra, founded in 2012, completed the night’s schedule with a performance that had audience members on their feet. The orchestra demonstrated a perfect cohesion between artists from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, who played a rich repertoire of Andalusian music.

Abdellah el-Ouazzani, a member of the Association of Andalusian Music Amateurs, said he was proud to see Casablanca revive a heritage that has been preserved for 12 centuries.

“We are strengthening the Maghrebian brotherhood through the festival,” said Ouazzani. “As we succeeded in presenting a coherent Maghrebian orchestra, we hope that Maghrebian brotherhood will last forever.”

The final night of the festival gave the audience at Mohammed V Stadium a chance to enjoy songs by Dar El Gharnatia led by Mohamed Charif Saoud with the

participation of solo artist Manel Gharbi.

Dar El Gharnatia is one of the oldest and most prestigious Andalusian music schools in Algeria.

The festival concluded with a breathtaking choral performance by the 80-member Nouba Al Andaloussia orchestra, including Marouane Hajji.

Moroccan singer and composer Nouamane Lahlou said Andalusian music is a living heritage.

“This festival is a brilliant initiative for Casablanca, especially after knowing that the idea is less than 1 month old,” said Lahlou. “It is a nucleus of a new start for Andalusian music in Casablanca and hopefully will be more successful in the future.”

Mohamed Najib Amour, president of the Prefectural City Council of Casablanca, said the event was organised within the framework of the development programme of the prefecture of Casablanca that seeks to address the aspirations of Casablancans, particularly in the cultural sector.

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