Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Hamadcha Concert - Photo Essay

Pedro Pelo Mundo is the name of a popular Brazilian TV series presented by Pedro Andrade. This week the programme's TV crew are in Fez and as part of their coverage of Moroccan culture, filmed a performance by the Hamadcha Sufi Brotherhood
Click on images to enlarge

The performance was held at Riad Zany, the home of The View From Fez. Thankfully, it was a balmy evening - perfect for experiencing the unique energy of the Hamadcha. The group of twelve musicians was lead by Abderrahim Amrani and included the highly talented musical director, Frédéric Calmès.

The audience of around 40, while being mainly Moroccan, included a group of American Peace Corp volunteers.

Also in the audience was a special guest from Australia - Dr Mustafa Ally OAM (pictured left), and his wife.

Dr Ally was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in the 2012 Australia Day Awards for his services to various communities and for his promotion of interfaith harmony and was appointed a People of Australia Ambassador in the same year by the Australian Government “in recognition of his significant contribution to his community and the wider Australian society”.

The evening's concert was a shortened version of the Hamadcha's normal repertoire, but lost none of its vitality. As Frédéric Calmès remarked, 'Riad Zany is the perfect venue. It is intimate, has great acoustics and lighting and the audience gets to share in the ritual.'

Musical director Frédéric Calmès (3rd from the right)
Hamadcha leader Abderrahim Amrani
Heating a drum skin over the incense
The Brazilian film crew were professional and unobtrusive
"The performance was amazing, like a meditation " - Pedro Andrade enjoying the evening

Pedro Pelo Mundo is fronted by Pedro Andrade, who has made a named for himself with a highly successful career in TV journalism. He began his international career by presenting First Look on NBC for 4 years (for which he received an Emmy nomination).  He later presented a reality show called On the Rocks and was a correspondent on the Today Show (a landmark programme in television history).

In 2013, he signed a contract with ABC to run Fusion Live, his own morning show on Fusion (Disney / ABC Group). The attraction was so successful that in a few months it occupied the prime time of the channel. During his career Pedro has interviewed some of the world's greatest celebrities such as Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Michele Obama, Malala, Keanu Reeves, Pierce Brosnan, Vik Muniz, Pelé, Laird Hamilton, Ronaldo Phenomenon, Eva Mendes and Alejandro Iñáritu.

Pedro says his time in Fez is something he will long remember and plans to come back for a more leisurely holiday

Moroccan children dressed up for the occasion 

One of the unexpected highlights of the evening was performance of a melhoun piece "el bouraqiya", by a young Moroccan female singer, Ikram Kajouar, whose unamplified voice rang, clear as a bell, around the courtyard. She sang this during the prelude to the tsalliya.

 Ikram Kajouar -  blessed with a "bell-like" voice

The Hamadcha performance included El ada, el jazouliya, el lounasa essghira, tsalliya, el lounasa el kebira (including the hadra) and saf el guenbri.

As the performance approached its climax with the beautiful saf el guenbri, the audience rose to their feet and joined with the Hamadcha. As is usual at such events, there were a number of women "trancing" and the evening ended on a high note with traditional ululation and applause.

Two of the women "trance dancing"
Photographs: Sandy McCutcheon


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