Song and Sacred Geometry /Architecture and the Sacred/Opening Concert

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« Architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race».Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris

In the tradition of the great spectacles presented in Fes by Alain Weber, featuring giant projection mapping and musicians from different traditions, we are invited on a journey enhanced by music and images displayed on the ancient walls of Bab Al Makina through the five major religions of the world: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. This is a voyage that begins and ends in Morocco, our ears abuzz with the vibrant beauty of the music and architecture of the world.

From the Gothic cathedral to the Jewish synagogue, from the immaculate marble of Mughal India to the clay zellij tiles of the imperial mosques of Morocco, that which is visible pays homage to that which is invisible, tracing the vertical axes between the Creator and His creation, heaven and earth, the cosmos and nature.

The Word of God seems to nestle in the nooks and crannies of the stone, often brightened by a few rays of light, filtered through stained glass or mushrabiya. Columns aid our spirits to soar and the reliefs of chiaroscuro suggest to us the sensation of returning to the Garden of Eden.

An architectural paradise has been designed by craftsmen from the guilds, who with their rulers and compasses have rubbed shoulders with right angles, vaulted ceilings, cupolas and arches through a geometry and a score often subject to divine proportion. And that, issuing from Euclid’s golden ratio, has informed musical compositions from time immemorial.

Thus from the setting of eternal buildings, incandescent rhythms and poetic, crystalline voices will swirl and weave like birds trying to take flight among the columns and domes.

Starting with the hydraulic clock, the Bucinaniyya (built in AH758 or 1357CE) that fashioned the rhythms of Fes, we celebrate with song the majesty of mediaeval rose windows like the one at Notre Dame known as the Midday Rose (1250CE). This rose reminds us that the 25 000 pieces of glass making up the composition are made from sand, the same material used in Tibetan mandalas. Mandalas express the wheel of life as well as the fleeting nature of life on earth, in contrast with the challenge of time that is evoked today by the great Hassan II Mosque.

About a hundred artists performing sacred songs of Morocco from the three monotheistic religions, Indian Qawwali, Kathak dance that told of the deeds of deities of sanatanadharma (the eternal law), Buddhist poems of Milarepa, all will exalt the sacred that has succeeded in surviving all the crises of humanity to this day.

Alain Weber

Alain Weber: conception and production

Ramzi Aburedwan: musical direction, composition and arrangements for orchestra

Spectaculaires – Allumeurs d’images (Franck Marty: Artistic director): mapping

Leïla Sajie: artistic coordination

Sandrine Lecoz: artist management

 

Performers in order of appearance:

 

Françoise Atlan, song (Morocco)

Françoise Atlan is the missing link in a Mediterranean region inhabited by a multitude of musical currents, all fruits of the most extraordinary migrations. Her vocal expression is a crossover of Judeo-Arab and Berber history. In addition to her knowledge of musicology and her approach to western classical music, she carries in her voice and expression of emotion the songbook of a thousand and one words, Sephardic romances, lullabies, and sacred Hebrew and Sufi poetry.

 

Delrevés, Vertical Dance Company, Saioa Fernandez Camazon and Eduardo Torres (Spain)

Delrevés, the well-known company of vertical dance, was founded in 2007 in Barcelona by Saioa Fernandez and Eduardo Torres. Delrevés presents a new vision of vertical dance, creating a poetic language where gesture is sanctified and acrobatics are an expression of the sacred just as it was long ago in its original form, particularly in the holy temples of India.

 

 

Chamber Choir of Morocco directed by Amine Hadef (Morocco)

Amine Hadef, director of the Chamber Choir of Morocco, was born in Casablanca. Having studied the piano and organ, he joined the Jeune Chœur de Paris under the direction of Laurence Equilbey, and often performed as a soloist with the Notre Dame Master.

 

Lobsang Chonzor, Himalayan Bard: song and dranyen lute (Tibet)

Lobsang Chonzor, playing the lute of Himalayan bards, notably sings the praise songs of Milarepa (1040-1123CE) and brings to life the poet, ascetic and spiritual master known by a legend of initiation. Surrounded by a giant Tibetan mandala, Lobsang Chonzor sings the poetry of Milarepa.

Aziz Erradi, song and guembri, and the Ensemble Gnawa with Amine Tewfik (Morocco)

We find Aziz Erradi here alongside bard Lobsang Chonzor, and that is not by chance. These two, whose ancestors crossed the deserts of the Himalaya and the Sahara, both possess the same vision of the wandering nomad who drifts between many worlds or waves. Their lutes, the dranyen and the guembri, resound with the same notes that give mystical depth.

 

Kathak Academy and Anuj Arjun Mishra Dance Company (India)

The great skills of rhythm and gesture, a sort of whirlwind of body and soul, make Kathak an almost celestial expression. Anuj Mishra, heir to his recently departed father Arjun, is a prodigy of Kathak dance. Also a choreographer, he manages his own company. His dancers unite beauty of body and rendition of feelings and are able to express a wide range of emotions (abhinaya).

The striking of feet accompanied by the silvery sounds of ankle bells and impressively fast pirouettes make a mandala of coloured flowers spring forth.

 

The Roohani Sisters, Sufi Jugalbandi song (India)

The Taj Mahal is considered one of the greatest architectural jewels of Indo-Islamic art. Its famous architectural beauty is founded upon a combination punctuated by solids and voids, concave and convex elements, shadows and light, where the arches and the cupolas heighten the aesthetic aspect. These characteristics are close to qawwali song: the immaculate words of sacred poems, praise songs to the saint, repeated as an invocation in different languages (Urdu, Punjabi, Farsi, Bhojpuri) seem to rise towards the heavens with the same fervour as the white marble and four minarets of the mythical building.

 

Mohammed Motamedi, song, accompanied by Maziyar Ghasemi, daf drum (Iran)

Aware of being a link in the transmission of great Persian culture, Mohammed Motamedi is able to develop his own personality, both humble and profound, within the nomenclature of the radif, the classical genre of Persian music, and to use the inspired words of the great poets from Rumi to Fereydoon Moshiri and Hafiz with growing conviction over the years.

Samâa Choir of Fes directed by Nouredine Tahiri

The practice of samâa is historically linked to Sufism, on the authority of ‘people of the path’. The traditional cities of Morocco – Fes, Marrakech, Rabat, Salé and Tetouan – have preserved this lively practice to this day. It is a tradition enriched by the assemblies of recitatives by talented mussammis and musicians, particularly in Fes, the spiritual capital of Morocco.