Monday, June 4, 2007

Festival, Day Two

Sunday being the last day I didn't have to juggle classwork around concerts, I decided to see as much as possible. The marathon began at 4:30 with the Gregorian Choir of Lisbon, who performed the better part of two masses. Sitting cross-legged right in front of the stage, I got to watch not only the energetic conductor and the French tourist next to me capturing it in watercolors.

A sandwich-and-pastry break later, it was time to go catch the free public ganawa concert at Boujeloud square. Majda Yahayoui attracted a huge crowd of locals but nearly none of the European tourists who had packed the Gregorian choir. The band included the traditional drums and cymbals but also a trombone and tenor sax, and their sound mixed standard ganawa with a jazzed-up sound for lively effect. A short thick woman in turquoise jellabah and bright purple scarf pushed us forward into the crowd and helped us work our way to the front. Two white girls in a crowd of Moroccans, we received a warm welcome in the claustrophobic cheering mass. After the concert, we turned to thank her and she told us "Assalamu aleikum - hi!" and wished us a good night as we set off for a quick coffee before the next show.

It took three wrong turns, but we eventually arrived at Bab Makina for a Brazilian performer named Tania Maria. She played a mellow jazz piano with no apparent religious overtones, but it was nice to sit in a chair again and relax for an hour while listening to "besame mucho" and the like. On the way out, a news crew stopped me, so I might or might not have made it onto the 2M evening news in French.

Finally, finally, we returned to Dar Tazi for the sufi chant show, this time performed by a brotherhood in from Tangier. They had a young girl performing with them, and also added instrumental accompaniment for the last numbers. What began as a close cousin of the gregorians' style grew in tempo and volume to become a hand-clapping, rapid-drumming chaos that swept the crowd right along into the music. While by 1am I was exhausted, I still couldn't help but pick an offbeat and clap along while the boys in the back added their own chorus.

Home at 1:30, I crashed into bed knowing that class this morning would hurt. Still, for a four-concert, three-continent day at 200 dirhams ($25), the extra cup of coffee needed to restart my brain afterward was well worth it.


Sarah said...

when you mentioned that thing about the news I just had this image of your old family looking up and seeing you in their tv set! weird!

have you been to chartres? they had a light show on the cathedral with handel's messiah!

KEP said...

I've been to Chartres, but I saw it in daylight and never lit up, nor with the Messiah. Cool!