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 brilliantÂ 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 RabatÂ that will very probably be a landmark in Moroccan music.
The upcoming concert is the outcome of a long academic endeavor involving research intoÂ Moroccoâs 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 Moroccoâs heritage of both Andalusian and local traditions by marrying them into other music genres to reach the highest scale of universality toÂ makeÂ 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 skepticismÂ âÂ 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. Â 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 cultureÂ âÂ the arts in particularÂ âÂ is going through anÂ intenseÂ time of change and renewal. Young artists are grappling with the issues of how toÂ surviveÂ the process, advance into modernity, capitalize on their heritage, while avoiding slipping backwards.Â This is exactly what Nabyla Maan, Tarik Hilal and their fellow musicians are pioneering. The bandâs July 18th concert is expected to be the launch of a new tradition.