Thursday, November 19, 2009
A while back I posted about an article in Haaretz that discussed Zohra El Fassia and the Koliphone/Zakiphon record labels. I was doing a little bit of searching in Hebrew today and came across the Hebrew version of the same article which included the above photo. Check out a very young looking Raymonde (who just performed in Essaouira) all the way to the right. You can also see the album covers of Jo Amar, Sami Elmaghribi (from the Ben Soussan LP - which I recently acquired) and Zohra El Fassia amongst others.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
|Raymonde El Bidaouia, une légende hors pair!|
|La ''Perle orientale'' a enchanté le public du Festival andalousies atlantiques d'Essaouira.|
|Publié le : 05.11.2009 | 14h59|
For an English translation, click here.
P.S. I'm moving apartments but as soon as I am settled I will upload some great, old images of Raymonde from her classic Koliphone/Zakiphon LPs.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
By Brett Kline (AFP) – 1 day ago
ESSAOUIRA, Morocco — A music festival bringing Jews and Muslims together in this windy, walled fishing port, long a crossroads of civilisation, is a step in breaking down political divides, says festival founder Andre Azoulay.
Azoulay, a high-profile businessman and advisor to Morocco's King Mohammed VI, who is a player in the Middle East peace process, is the driving force behind the Andalousies Atlantiques festival of Judeo-Arab music, whose sixth edition ended this weekend.
"Essaouira throughout its entire history and its entire way of living was a synthesis between Muslims and Jews," Azoulay told AFP. "It was not something artificially constructed, it was natural."
"And this festival is a reconstruction of that reality as it was historically. It is not cosmetic, it is real."
The opening concert at the three-day fest improbably featured an 80-year-old singer-rabbi, Haim Louk, backed by a Moroccan band who drew thunderous applause from the audience -- people of all ages and social class, women wearing headscarves and others in western gear, tourists, foreigners, Jews and Arabs.
Azoulay grew up in the town, which then had a big Jewish community, and returned after a successful banking and communications career in France with the idea of reviving the local economy.
An obvious path was to turn the town into a cultural hub to reflect its past, and a number of festivals including the world's leading festival of pulsating Gnaoua (or Gnawa) music now take place in the town.
"The changes in the town have been tremendous," Azoulay said. "Twenty years ago there was no airport. The hotels here now employ hundreds of people."
Azoulay grew up in a building in the kasbah where a Jewish family lived on one floor and a Muslim family on the next.
"It was so normal that it was banal."
"When you see a concert such as Haim Louk, it is very moving," he said. "It is a reflection of what was and what is today in Morocco, and it is a step in the right direction in terms of our values.
"I would challenge anyone to take that social and cultural cohesiveness away from us, because of a political situation in which people are at odds with each other," he added.
Describing himself as spiritually Jewish, but also a Berber who is strongly influenced by Arab-Islamic history and culture, Azoulay said this meant he could enjoy Mahler, Um Kalthoum and Andalusian music.
"When people can sing and play together on stage in Hebrew and in Arabic, it is beyond symbolic, it is real. It is about reconciliation," he said.
"And when you see the standing ovation that a Moroccan Muslim public gave a Moroccan Jewish artist, you see maybe they could pay attention elsewhere."