Saturday, 18 July 2015

A Freebee

We are doing voluntary work for the Festival "Guitares en Cormatinois" and our great leader Guy Touvron, who resides in Paris and is a well-known classical trumpet player, organises the artists for the festival. Hence he is regularly in contact with musicians and impresarios.
My Freebee
Not so long ago we received a mail in which Guy reported that he had received two free tickets for the Orchestre Arabo-Andalou de Fès conducted by Mohamed Briouel in Chalon-sur-Saône. The secretary of the festival had forwarded the mail with the remark "I do not think anybody is interested in this, but….". However, since we have always been interested in what is nowadays called World Music, we decided to gamble on the fact that nobody would be interested, and said that we would love to go.
The leader of the orchestra
That turned out to be a good gamble, and a week later we had places in the Espace des Arts in Chalon-sur-Saône. There were no empty chars in the auditorium (seats approx. 1200), and I was a bit surprised that the spectators were not mainly people of North-African extraction. Chalon has quite a big population of North-Africans, resulting in a very interesting, lively and colourful Thursday market called the Arab market by the locals. The majority of the spectators consisted of European concert-goers dressed in their Sunday best.
The orchestra consisted of eight men, playing resp. a cello, two violins and an alto violin, a rebab (Arabic fiddle), an oud (Arabic lute), a tambourine and a drum played with the hands. All eight of them sang as well. They played a type of music I was not very familiar with, but clearly Arabic music of some description. The singing was Arabic, and it would not surprise me if flamenco singing has been influenced by this form of singing in a dim and distant past. The group gave a concert that lasted, without a break, for slightly less than two hours, playing tunes of between five and ten minutes each.

Orchestre Arabo-Andalou de Fès
All in all, we had a very enjoyable evening, with excellent music, and on top of that it had not cost us a penny. Having said that, if I had known the orchestra beforehand and had seen the posters, I would have happily dished out € 23 pp!
Click here for the website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle.

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