Sunday, September 07, 2008

Andalousies Atlantiques Festival in Essaouira, Morocco, Oct. 30-Nov. 1: Tribute to Judaeo-Arab singers Sami El Maghribi and Lili Boniche

I just received this announcement. I encourage anyone who reads this blog to both circulate this information and to try their best to go. I attended last year's festival, and it was splendid, both as a musical event, and as a tribute to the critical importance of Jews to modern Arab musical culture. Among last year's featured performers were the great Moroccan Jewish singer Haim Louk and the Algerian-Jewish pianist and vocalist Maurice El Medioni. Medioni will be there again this year, with the El Gusto Orchestra, a chaabi ensemble led by Abdel Hadi Halo. And other huge stars, the Judaeo-Arab singers Luc Perez and Luc Cherki, and Jil Jilala! I've posted a few photos from last year's event, which can be accessed here.

Haim Louk with Thami Harrak and his ensemble (photo: T. Swedenburg)

Dear All,

We would like to invite you to this year's Andalousies Atlantiques Festival, celebrating the prodigious musical heritage of al-Andalus. This year's event will take place in Essaouira from October 30 to November 1, 2008 and will pay tribute to two giants of Judeo-Arabic music who passed away earlier this year - the Moroccan Sami El Maghribi and the Algerian Lili Boniche.
Among the groups performing are El Gusto, a 50-person ensemble that reunites veteran chaabi musicians who performed together in the casbah of Algiers in the 1950s - including Maurice El Medioni, Ahmed Bernaoui, Rene Perez, and Luc Cherki under the leadership of Abdelhadi Halo; Maxime Karouchi, a young Moroccan-born vocalist who performs Andalusian nuba, and Sami El Maghribi's melhoun and chaabi repertoire; Mohamed Briouel and the Orchestre Andalous de Fes - Briouel directs the Music Conservatory of Fez, and won the Prix du Maroc for his book
Moroccan Andalusian Music: Nouba Gharibat Al Husayn; and the group Jil Jilala, who fuse the rhythms of Issawa and Gnawa with melhoun, and whose songs of protest of the 1970s and 1980s have become classics.

During the morning, panels will bring together researchers, journalists and musicians to discuss the music legacy of al-Andalus. Films, documentaries and exhibits will be shown during the afternoon - concerts begin at 6:00pm.

Here is a link to a newsreport on last year's Andalousies Atlantiques festival:

Please join us!

For any questions about the festival, please contact Professor Ted Swedenburg at the University of Arkensas: (

Comité des Festivals d'Essaouira

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