Sunday, June 05, 2011

Julia Butros wows the crowd at the Fes Festival

The Fes Festival organisers have long wanted to invite Lebanese star Julia Butros to perform at Morocco's premier world music festival, and with good reason. Though not deeply "spiritual", her warmth, energy and talent touched the audience.

From the moment she walked onto the stage at Bab al Makina, Butros connected with the audience who were hugely appreciative; the Moroccans in the audience certainly knew her work. Not only did she bow to the audience but took time to cement the connection. It was heart-warming after the lack of connection the previous evening.

It is always a good sign when the orchestra are also having fun!
Butros explained that her songs are about country, patriotism, victory and love. She is a Maronite Christian and her mother is an Armenian born in Palestine, so she was brought up in a political climate of war and heartbreak. She recorded her first album at the age of 14 and her first big hit was in 1985, with the song Ghabet chams el haq, composed by her brother Zaid.

Accompanied by a 20-piece orchestra including a kanoun, piano-accordion and strong string section, as well as a piano and 10-piece choir, Butros' music was rich and sensual. One of the most interesting (and strangely moving) pieces for westerners, perhaps, was the rendition of 'Auld Lang Syne' in Arabic. It was a jaw-dropping moment and one whose cultural implications may take some time to digest!

Please click images to enlarge

No comments: