Sunday, June 05, 2011

Andalusian melange of Arab and Jewish music

Sunday's afternoon concert at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music featured the Orchestra of Fes directed by Mohamed Briouel and the Hevrat David Hamelech Chorale from Strasbourg in France.

Both Jews and Arabs share Andalusian music which originated in Spain and developed in Morocco, particularly in cities such as Fez and Tetouan. This form of music was brought to the Maghreb when these two groups of people were expelled from Spain by Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492.

The Chorale represents the Jewish diaspora from North Africa, particularly from Morocco. In this concert, the Fez Orchestra members sang the words to the songs in Arabic, while the Chorale sang their words in Hebrew - to the same music. It was an interesting melange of the two cultures under the Batha Museum's beautiful Barbary oak tree.

Mohamed Briouel (left)


An early contender for The View from Fez Wooden Spoon Award for the most annoying person at the Festival has to be the man in the pink shirt who spends every concert recording on what looked like an iPhone.

For some reason known only to himself, he insists on getting in the way of the audience and the musicians, even climbing onto the stage this afternoon to get close to them. In past years there have been a few moans about over-vigilant security guards hassling the press, but this year security doesn't seem to have spotted this irritating person.


Kippot said...

The melange of the arab and jewish culture gave wonderful fruits to culture ,literature, philosophy and music.We have much more in common than we have differences.We should work on finding a way to magnify those common points in order to find out how to live together in peace.

Helen Ranger said...

Yes, Kippot. That's what the festival aims to explore and promote.