Lotfi Sax, a Moroccan musician working to combine his instrument with EDM and Moroccan traditional beats, is giving neighborhood performances.
“I want to bring to the world music that will make people dance and allow them to forget what bad things have happened in the day,” said Lotfi in an interview with Morocco World News.
Lotfi, a full-time digital marketing consultant, has been playing the saxophone for just over six years and typically spends between three to four hours a day honing his instrumental skills.
When Moroccan authorities issued the nationwide lockdown, he began dreaming up ways to share his music with the world while maintaining social distancing.
After some of his neighbors mentioned the musical recordings that were spreading joy from balconies and rooftops in Italy and Spain, Lotfi said he decided to surprise his neighbors with a performance of their own.
“I live in a place that has a big courtyard garden in between all of the apartments in the complex, so it was like having a real event.”
Lotfi’s first of six balcony performances lasted over an hour. He says that his neighbors saw it all the way through with “only positive vibes.” Among others, he covered songs by Justin Timberlake, Luis Fonsi, Bruno Mars, Swedish House Mafia, and Avicii.
While Lotfi has worked hard to memorize over 100 songs by other artists, he is also in the process of releasing more of his own creative work and expects to release his first single by the end of June.
Lotfi’s inspiration and upcoming recordings
The Oujda-born musician says he is most inspired by electronic dance music (EDM). In an effort to share Moroccan rhythms with the world in an innovative fashion, Lotfi is experimenting with recording his woodwind tunes over traditional Moroccan Gnawa beats, EDM-style.
The saxophone, a non-traditional instrument in Morocco, was first designed in Belgium in the 1800s. Electronic dance music, one of the fastest growing musical genres today, emerged in the 1980s as an offshoot from the disco scene.
Well-preserved heritage music such as Gnawa is popular across Morocco and other North African countries. The songs, played with guembri (a two-string bass instrument) and qraqeb (similar to castanets), often combine Islamic rituals, poetry, and dance.
Lotfi’s combination of the three musical genres would bridge musical cultures and sounds from around the world.
“The challenge was to find a concept that would make me different and set me apart from other musicians,” he said. Based on the 31-year-old musician’s love for EDM, Morocco, and the saxophone, the concept of combining the three seemed like the best option and one that would allow him to have the most fun.
Typically, Lotfi performs at weddings, birthday parties, company gatherings, or galas around Marrakech and Casablanca. Once the lockdown lifts in Morocco, he hopes to extend his performances beyond the country’s borders. Lotfi also said he has plans to host a proper concert in his neighborhood courtyard to allow others to gather and enjoy his music.