Dominic Ambrose Blogblot

of words: narrative, film and non-fiction

La Fête de la Musique and the sight of blood

This year’s Fête de la Musique came at an awkward time. When I got up in the morning and looked on the computer one of the first things I saw was the cruel death of Neda on a street of Tehran. It was a sickening sight. This photo is from the beginning of the video, before the blood rushed out of her mouth and nose,Neda leaving her dead within seconds. The other photos on the web are too graphic to post here. One could say that it is a senseless death, a young girl, forced to her death on the dirty pavement of a city street, but it does not have to be seen that way. In the language and symbolism of martyrdom that is such a central element of Shi’a culture, she gave her life for her people, and she died among them, contributing her life force to them and letting it multiply far more than she could ever do on her own.

tambourinesLater in the day, at the demonstration in front of the Iranian Embassy in Place d’Iena, the music was chanting, whistles and speeches, punctuated only by a short burst of drumbeats by a group of people playing Dafs, the very large Persian tambourines. It was a jolting, insistent and fortifyng sound.

Later on, I went to the Institut du Monde Arabe for the concert on the plaza there. It was full of a jubilant crowd, and this was a good way to end the day. The images of Neda and of other bloody victims that I remembered from the demonstration (many people held up digital images taken from the internet), and these new images of happy faces blended in my mind to restore some balance.

The first performer was Makhlouf, a singer from Mekla, a city in the Kabyle region of Algeria. The MC described his style as Andalusian, and I found this curious, and then when he started singing, I could hear the connection. In his handout blurb, it states that he studied at a conservatory of Andalusian music, and the style of his music is called hawzi, which relies on a subtle and masterful vocal art. His compositions were very well received by the crowd.

Makhlouf Aberkane

Makhlouf Aberkane

The obligatory shakey-shake

The obligatory shakey-shake

After that, the next act was Tunisian, a young man at the synthesizer, named Slim. He started out playing music in the clubs of Djerba, but eventually moved to France, where he has been building his career in the Tunisian community. He played Tunisian standards which got an enthusiastic reaction from the crowd,

Slim Ghanouchi

Slim Ghanouchi

who sang along and danced up a storm.


June 22, 2009 - Posted by | daily life, happenings, music | , , , , , , ,

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