Kisses, selfies and lots of wild wild women at the Matinée Marocaine in Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam. Khadija Margoum and Khadija El Bidaouia sang Moroccan songs about joy, suffering and love
by Charlie Crooijmans
Before the concert started, the documentary Aïta of film director Izza Genini was screened. The movie brought us back to 1988. Khadija El Bidaouia was one of the young women that traveled along with the Bedouin group of chikhates (female singers) and chioukhs (musicians). In the Q&A Genini explained that this music genre was popular among the people but had a low status. The women were traveling with men, smoked, drank, danced and waved their long hair. Women of loose morals. They ought to stay at home. But nowadays the music is considered respectful and important. This is mainly due to the efforts of Brahim El Mazned, director and founder of Visa for Music in Rabat among other festivals.
El Mazned compiled the price winning anthology Chikhates et Chioukhs de l’Aïta to preserve Moroccan musical legacy. He hopes that Aïta will become as strong as Flamenco in Spain, Fado in Portugal or Cumbia in Colombia.
This Summer at the Houtfestival in Haarlem in the Netherlands, I spoke to the Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat for VPRO Vrije Geluiden. Internationally she is known for her performances with her sister Marjan Vahdat. In Iran they are not allowed to play in public, only for a female audience. That doesn’t stop her from making music and poetry in her home country. Mahsa also encourages and teaches the Persian vocal art to women in Iran. Since 2007 she is one of the ambassadors of Freemuse.
In the video-interview she tells me about the importance of poetry.
Last month News and Noise was at Babel Med, the world music and jazz forum that took place on March 16 – 18 in Marseilles, and we spoke to Sama Abdulhadi aka Skywalker. Sama is the first techno DJ and producer of the Palestinian underground community. In the video interview below she’ll tell us about Berlin Techno and her ambitions. Continue reading →
News and Noise! was invited to a musical event at the Immigration detention center or asylum seekers reception center (AZC for short in Dutch) located at a former military hospital in Utrecht. Moroccan poet, musician and spoken word artist Walid Ben Selim (N3erdstan) gave performances. This event is a collaboration of the organizations Vrolijkheid and Culture Connection.Continue reading →
In the beginning of March singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré from Mali came to Amsterdam to do an exclusive concert at the North Sea Jazz Club. She was touring round Europe to present her wonderful new album ‘Né So’. At my work at VPRO Vrije Geluiden (Dutch cross media music channel), I am coordinating a group of young people who are thinking about alternative ways to present music and musicians. One of them, the animator Wisse Beets, wanted to do an interview with Rokia without asking her any questions. Instead, he showed her some drawings she could reflect on, with which he made an animation (see below). Her thoughts on a drawing of a half sinking boat full of people were so profound, I decided to transcribe them for News and Noise! Continue reading →
Paris – Last week News and Noise! was at Café de la Danse in Paris, to attend the concert of Yasmine Hamdan. It was an electrifying show with elements of underground and mysticism. Singer-songwriter and actress Hamdan is one of those free spirits seeking for inspiration. She needs the music to be able to express herself – especially coming from Lebanon, a damaged postwar country – and is considered an underground icon throughout the Arab world ever since Soapkills, the duo she founded in Beirut. After moving to Paris, Hamdan recorded an album with musician/producer Mirwais, and also collaborated with CocoRosie for a while. Together with Marc Collin (Nouvelle Vague), she wrote and produced her first solo album in 2012, which was internationally released on Crammed Discs under the title Ya Nass. Both she and her song Hal appears in the Jim Jarmusch’ vampire movie Only lovers left alive. In a cute tea-house in the middle of Paris we had a very nice, open-hearted conversation, about her youth in postwar Lebanon, her non-conformism, her collection of old Arab songs and her music.
Amsterdam – The liner notes of the third and newest album of Aziza Brahim, Soutak, has a strong message. “If things are not set right soon, we, the native people of the Western Sahara (“Saharawis”), will have traveled a road of some 40 years since our land was invaded, ravaged and robbed. A path that leads from napalm bombs to landmines; a route encompassing the exodus to the refugee camps in the South of Algeria and the cruel devastation and unjust condemnation of the brave Gdeim Izik (Camp of Dignity); a march from medieval colonialism to neoliberal imperialism; all of it face to face with the silent complicity of the large international organizations.” Aziza Brahim (1976) was born and raised in the Saharawi refugee camps in the Tindouf region of Algeria where her family settled, after fleeing from the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. When she was 11 years old, she journeyed to Cuba to pursue her secondary school studies. Back in the refugee camps she committed to self-education and the development of her own musical expression. Now many years, awards, movies, and three albums later, her album Soutak has reached number 1 of the European World Charts. She appeared in the TV show of Jools Holland (UK), and last week she was in Amsterdam to perform at the TV show Vrije Geluiden. News & Noise spoke to her shortly before she had to return to Barcelona. Continue reading →