By Erin Dunne
By Erin Dunne
Rabat – On the last night of Mawazine Alpha Blondy delivered a soulful performance at the Bouregreg stage.
As the packed crowd danced to his internationally celebrated reggae music, Alpha Blondy urged those in attendance to celebrate religious unity and called for peace around the world.
Alpha Blondy, originally from the Ivory Coast, was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother but raised by his grandmother who he says ‘taught him to love everyone.’ These early influences were clear in his music on Saturday night as he talked about Christianity, Judaism and Islam and criticized those who would use God as a justification for violence in his song “Crime spiritual.”
The artist returned to this theme of peace throughout the night and with his song “Peace Liberia” Alpha Blondy called for peace in countries currently engaged in war such as Syria, Iraq and Sudan. He also advocated for an end to the ongoing Israel Palestine conflict asking the crowd how many more generations of children from both countries would have to grow up with violence.
His musical call for a better world resonated with the crowd and the times. As countries around the globe remain embroiled in seemingly endless conflict Alpha Blondy both as a performer and activist symbolizes hope for a better future.
As the night drew to a close and the crowd sang along to Blondy’s cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” the song resonated with more than physically being there at the concert. Instead, the words seemed to be an expression of the wish to share the commitment to peace exemplified by Blondy’s music with those who needed it most and were, inevitably, not there to listen:
“How I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year
Running over the same old ground
What have we found?
The same old fears
Wish you were here.”