Fez - Moroccan composer and musicologist Nabil Benabdeljalil and the Zakharif Ensemble delivered an outstanding performance on Thursday afternoon at the Batha Museum, marrying oriental and occidental melodies and taking the audience on a voyage across cultures.
Fez – Moroccan composer and musicologist Nabil Benabdeljalil and the Zakharif Ensemble delivered an outstanding performance on Thursday afternoon at the Batha Museum, marrying oriental and occidental melodies and taking the audience on a voyage across cultures.
The ensemble approaches music holistically and interprets it as a harmony of intricate, polyphonic compositions and arrangements that connect with the spirit of tradition. The ensemble plays jazz, Moroccan, Middle Eastern, and Arabic music, classical music of the Romantic era, and classical 20th century music.
Although the groups participating in the Festival this year may differ in name, kinds of music, and rhythm, they all share a pivotal theme in common: the journey of Hassan Al Wazan and his migration from Andalusia to Africa and back again to Europe.
Nabil Benabdeljalil and the Zakharif Ensemble emphasized this theme performing pieces from the classical Arab repertoire infused with western tunes.
Before the concert began, the organizers experienced difficulties due to rain and the heavy wind which blew tree leaves all over the tiled courtyard of the venue, causing a delay. Responding to the discomfort with the weather conditions, one spectator commented: “This is part of the sacred,.” urging listeners to smile.
Finally, the group appeared on stage to a warm applause.
The first two pieces were “Romance without Speech” and “The Impossible Dance,’’ both composed by Nabil Benabdeljalil. The pieces were deftly and musically played although they sounded as if they were composed of a hodge-podge of intricate musical notes, mixing Austrian, Egyptian, American, and Moroccan rhythms and tunes. The audience noticed the meticulous precision with which the group of artists played their instruments (piano, percussion, Ooud , saxophone, and percussions) to create the uncanny harmony of which Nabil Benabdeljalil is fond of. The quartet whetted the viewers’ appetite for more, transporting them to different parts of the world.
The Oud player, Ozzahr Noureddine, took the audience to the winding alleys of Egypt’s old Medinas with a stunning piece of music. which took the listeners to the winding alleys of Egypt’s old Medinas. The percussionist, Youssef Outamrich, leaving his instrument for a spell, perfectly sang a captivating Mawal “Ya Lili Ya Lili.” He was much appreciated by the audience and precipitated several minutes of applause.
One of the best performances of the concert was, the group played a piece called “The Child from Mrirt” (enfant de Mrirt ). Mrirt is originally a name of a small city in the Atlas Mountains whose dwellers are purely Amazigh. This captivating piece, carried the audience back to Morocco and its sacrosanct and nostalgic Amazigh roots.
In an exclusive interview with Morocco World News, Nabil said that music goes beyond just entertainment. When asked about the connection with sacred music, he said that music should be spiritual in the first place, and then other indicia of the spirituality will follow.
Photo Credit: Zoubir Ali
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