Thursday, June 10, 2010

From Baghdad to Fez, via Jerusalem

Yair Dalal

The Ensemble Baghdad Jerusalem have earned the name, having played in both cities. Now they are in Fez and their sacred chants are drawn from the musical traditions of the Jewish Babylonians.

On an overcast and cool day in Morocco's Fez Medina, the Ensemble captivated a capacity crowd. From the opening "prayer for peace", sung by the cantor, David Menahem, through to the end of the repertoire they gave the audience what they had come for - an uplifting musical experience.

David Menahem

The programme included well known liturgical works such as Ya Ribon Alam, a 16th century piece sung in Aramaic and usually performed during Shabat. There was some fine oud and flute playing in a the up-tempo Ma Navou Alay, a song with a message of peace and based on the emigration of Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem. The famous Rabi Nissim made this journey himself at the beginning of the 20th century. These days it is often performed at weddings in praise of the bridegroom.

This was yet another perfect afternoon concert and it was superb to see these Israeli musicians being given such a warm reception.

Gilad Hazan - voice and oud.


Shofar player, Yagel Harel

Mark Pedersen, sound and image designer from Melbourne, Australia

To see all the Fez Festival 2010 stories from Morocco, on The View from Fez, click HERE!

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