Monday, July 17, 2017

Amazigh Cultural Festival Ends on a High Note

The International Festival of Amazigh Culture closed last night with an over capacity crowd jammed into the beautiful Bab Makina venue

Participants at the Festival's forum sessions that we spoke with during last night's concert were united in judging the Festival a huge success, with lively debates and thought provoking addresses.

Congratulations are due to the Festival organisers; in particular Fatima Sadiqi and Moha Ennaji.

Moha Ennaji at last night's concert

First up at the final concert was the dynamic powerhouse Hadda Ouakki, who was greeted warmly by the audience and delivered her set with her four dancers with gusto. It was pure Amazigh and showed just how alive the ancient culture is today.

Hadda Ouakki

Next up was Laura Conti, who was welcomed back to the Festival. She first performed at the Festival back in 2015. With a great voice and the skills of an actor she inhabited the music and received a rapturous response from the audience.

Laura Conti in full flight

Conti's songs were skilful arrangements by guitar maestro Maurizio Verna, whose performance gave her the space to bring the songs alive.

The three piece group Eivadòr (Golden River) is named after the old Caravanserai name for the Orco River, famous for the extraction of gold.

Guitar maestro Maurizio Verna,

The final performance was from a crowd favourite, Abdelhafid Douzi. The singer and actor, now in his thirties, appeared on stage and the crowd surged forward, past security to the front of the stage. The sea of waving arms, smart phones and cameras held aloft made glimpsing the singer a little difficult and photography impossible, but the music told the story and the crowd rewarded Douzi with a tsunami of applause.

Halfway through the concert there was a large crowd locked out

The only criticism of the evening was the Festival's underestimation of the size of the crowd. Numbers were so great that the doors of Bab Makina had to be shut to prevent the hundreds still waiting outside to enter. Not only is overcrowding unpleasant, causing many people to stand for the duration, but it raises serious safety issues.

Despite those problems, the Festival was judged an overwhelming success and showed just how tangible "intangible cultural heritage" can be.

Photos & Video; Sandy McCutcheon


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