Thursday, June 14, 2012

Coming Up @ Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

Bab al Makina 20h30 -

Wadih El Safi,

WADIH EL SAFI  - Lebanon,  His real name is Francis Wadih Béchara, a Lebanese singer, oud player and composer. With more than 60 years' experience, an exceptional voice and more than 5000 song titles under his belt, he is widely considered to be the quintessential singer of the Arab world.Wadih El Safi retains the splendour of the Arab musical tradition and is regarded as a top performer of tarab in common with the tenor Sabah Fakhri. It's for this reason that he is known as the Voice of the Lebanon.

He started his artistic journey in 1938 at the early age of seventeen when he took part in a singing contest held by the Lebanese Broadcasting Network and was first among fifty other competitors. He was named then the first singer of Lebanon.

El Safi, a classically trained Baritone – having studied at the Beirut National Conservatory of Music -, began composing and performing songs that drew upon his rural upbringing and love of traditional melodies. He blended poetry and zajal with an urban sound, and created a new style of modernized Lebanese folk music. He performed in venues throughout the Middle East.

In 1947, El Safi traveled to Brazil, where he remained until 1950. After his return to Lebanon, El Safi continued to develop folk music and chose poetry and zajal to inspire patriotism and focus on love, devotion, morals and values.

Wadih El Safi toured the world, singing in many languages, including Arabic, French, Portuguese and Italian. He took part in major international festivals and earned many high distinction honors in Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, Morocco, Syria, Mascat and France.

He has written over 3000 songs and is well known for his mawawil (an improvised singing style) of ‘ataba, mijana, and Abu el Zuluf. He has performed and recorded with many well-known Lebanese musicians, including Najwa Karam, Fairouz, and Sabah.

Wadih El Safi's fame came to the fore in 1957 during the well-known Baalbek Festival.

Lotfi Bouchnak

LOTFI BOUCHNAK - Tunisia  This singer, lutist and composer was born in Tunis into a family that was originally Turkish from Bosnia, as his surname suggests. Lotfi Bouchnak is an inspired artist with a powerful charisma that charms Arab audiences with the power of his voice, the extent of his vocal range and his exceptional expressive qualities.

Passionate about his art, Bouchnak is primarily devoted to the classical Arab repertoire of the old tradition. His interpretation of Tunisian music is audacious; he is an inspired oud player; he revives the traditions of the Golden Age when he sings the work of his namesake, the grand master of Aleppo, Mustafa al Bushnak (1770-1856). This was a time when such singers travelled across the Ottoman Empire and performed before princes of the East and West, providing a cosmopolitan form of art. This syncretic cosmopolitanism was influenced by the great Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Tunisian and Turkish musicians such as Tawfiq Quwiwi (who was his master), Salih al Mahdi, Sayyid Darwish, Salih Abd al Hayy and Sabah Fakhri, and had a remarkable effect on his style where the inflections of the Middle East are coloured with Arabo-Andalus nuances.

In recent years, Lotfi Bouchnak has delighted music-lovers in Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo, Algiers and Amman. At the beginning of the 1990s, a fortuitous collaboration with the Al Kindi Ensemble contributed to his becoming known to a western, European audience. An artist of deep faith, he recorded a CD dedicated to the setting to music of the 99 Names of God.

Accompanied by a group of twelve traditional percussionists, Bouchnak's concert in Fes consists of a repertoire of sacred Sufi songs.


The afternoon concert at Batha 4pm - Arabesques - France Spain
from the poems of the Diván del Tamarit by Federico Garcia Lorca interpreted by Rocío Màrquez. Melodies for song and piano by Christian Boissel


No comments: