Nabila Maan 2014 - Villa des Arts Rabat


Friday, July 18, 2014 - 08:10


By Abdellatif Zaki

Rabat – Attending music rehearsals is always a privilege. And when a group that is about to set a trend is in the critical stage of formation of a new culture, the privilege is all the more precious.

Six Moroccan musicians, singer Nabyla Maan, Tarik Hilal, professor of music, fine guitarist and composer, the brilliant musicians Nor Eddine Bahha on piano, Xavier Sarazin on drums, Hamza Souissi on bass, and Mohammed Amrani on percussion, are rehearsing for a concert to be performed on July 18, 2014, in Rabat that will very probably be a landmark in Moroccan music.

The upcoming concert is the outcome of a long academic endeavor involving research into Morocco’s musical heritage, exploring the music of the world, and experimenting with many styles and genres of music. Both the singer and members of the band have an outstanding record of performing various genres of Moroccan music, western classical music, jazz, and other music of the world.

The current project will celebrate Morocco’s heritage of both Andalusian and local traditions by marrying them into other music genres to reach the highest scale of universality to make the music available to a wider community. Jazz has been chosen as the natural partner to carry the Moroccan experience and to converse with other musical heritages. Removing frontiers from the realm of music and bringing all styles, types, and forms together and learning to listen, understand, reach and speak to one another is a challenge the team has taken up, recognizing what the monumental task means and what it entails. Obstinate habits, resistance, and skepticism — for whatever reasons, and sheer ignorance are but a few hurdles the band is well aware of and ready to face.

In Morocco, other experiments have tried with varying degrees of success to meld different forms of music. The experience at hand, however, does not seek to reestablish, rehabilitate or strengthen any kinship or sibling relations among the heritages that are being drawn upon.  Rather, it addresses genres that have always been assumed to be too distant even to lend themselves to exchange, let alone marry. Bringing them together will be by itself an achievement.

Attempts to establish dialogue among different musical and cultural heritages suggest, on the one hand, the vitality of individual cultural traditions, and on the other hand, a desire to take them to their full potential as vehicles of change and renewal. Moroccan culture — the arts in particular — is going through an intense time of change and renewal. Young artists are grappling with the issues of how to survive the process, advance into modernity, capitalize on their heritage, while avoiding slipping backwards. This is exactly what Nabyla Maan, Tarik Hilal and their fellow musicians are pioneering. The band’s July 18th concert is expected to be the launch of a new tradition.




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(sans sujet)


We start with nothing. We start with John Lasseter in the room because John is one of those people who can just sit there and pour ideas out on the table. He'll have three, four criteria—sometimes just one or just a crumb of an idea—for a character, which is the best because then you can go off in any direction you want. The first two or three months is just plastering the walls with photo references, spending a lot of time on Google and finding the full range of who the character is. And it's kind of up to me, as well-there's a lot of creative freedom. We distill down from week after week of art reviews, "We like these five cars," and then we trim them down to two. And then I just start sketching. Honestly, I'm sketching throughout the whole thing. Something I draw in that meantime might become something. We had less time on this one then we did on the first, so to get them out the door to Modeling and then Articulation and then Animation, I'd do a lot of simple character studies. For Finn McMissile, I really wanted to nail that pontoon on him and that understated fin. The sideview really worked for him. John really became attached to that sideview and it spawned the rest of him; from there, we worked on the front view, the back view, it blossomed into a 3D graphic. I was doing a lot of three-quarter studies to look at the grill, the front clip, keeping in mind that he has all this spy gear we've got to stow. I was thinking, "Oh, those bumperettes will be a great place to store a grappling hook." John planted the idea of grappling hooks in me, so I was always thinking about them. With Francesco, our Italian Formula 1 racer, all of his suspension is revealed, so we spent a lot of time on his bodywork. We honed him down and massaged his form because those cars are beautiful and we wanted ours to be, too. We sculpted him and that gave us an impression of how much of his suspension is going to show. Then we realized that when he takes off his front wheels, he's stretched like a rubber band and it's really ugly. Something like that took about two months to figure out what was going on—we developed a whole telescoping arm that had a pivot point. Francesco and Finn were the standouts: Francesco because all of his parts are exposed and Finn because his spy gear has to come out of somewhere. Then Pixar does what's called a "sketch model" with just simple contour lines defining the parameters of the car: the beltline, the sill, the greenhouse. Then we start laying in the geometry between those lines, then there's a whole other area of color and shade and paint and metallics, carbon fibers—all of these textures. Then the articulation: we're putting a skeleton inside this thing and making a driving system that allows them to gesture and the tires to give like they're inflated and reacting to surfaces. All these processes become intermingled. The animators might get a hold of an early model and start pushing the suspension and doing a rough acting pass. We might get an email from them saying, "Oh, the suspension broke when the car rolled to the side." So we have to go back in and fix that-we have a number of fixes throughout the process-and by the time it makes it back around to the animators, it's a pretty robust model at that point.

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