Music took centre stage at the Assilah Festival as a concert organized by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) proved to be a huge success.
The concert, featuring performances from Bait Al Oud Al Arabi and a local group comprised of female singers and chanters from Chefchaouen – the Hadra Chefchaouni took place at the end of a long day of discussion about music in the World of Islam.
Several esteemed musicologists, Government advisors and anthropologists who had earlier spoken at the Music in the World of Islam roundtable discussions at the Hassan II centre were also in attendance, as was the Mayor of Assilah, Mohammed Benaissa.
The audience was treated to a 45-minute performance by Bait Al Oud Al Arabi, including renditions of The Land of al-Isra, Bayati Sensibility, Fingertip Violet and the Flying Bird. The performance was an opportunity for the House of Oud to showcase its member’s talents to a wider audience in Assilah.
Naseer Shamma, the head of Bait al Oud Al Arabi said: “The creation of Bait al Oud is, at once, a celebration of musical instruments that have an enduring prestige within the Arab musical tradition and a timely boost to the contemporary music scene in the Arab world.”
“For two years now, young and talented music students have every reason to dream, bigger dreams than those I had when I was their age. Many of them now look at the instrument they love with the assurance that their gift will be further nurtured, that their passion will be looked after. This is Bait al Oud's pledge to them.”
Following the performance of the House of Oud, the Hadra Chefchaouni took to the stage. The Hadra Chefchaounia is an all-women singing ensemble from Chefchaouen, a small town located on the foothills of the Rif mountain range in northern Morocco, renowned for being a rich and diversified cultural and poetic centre, but best known for its Hadra tradition.
The rhythmic chants and singing of the Hadra Chefchaouni brought the audience to their feet – with the concert continuing until well after midnight due to their enthusiasm. It was a fitting end to a day of discussion and debate about the preservation of musical heritage. The performance of Bait al Oud Al Arabi and the Hadra Chefchaouni and the audience’s reaction to both provided compelling proof that there is still a large audience and huge enthusiasm for more traditional musical heritage.
ADACH’s role in the development of culture and heritage in the UAE is evident throughout this year’s Assilah Festival. ADACH is holding several workshops and art exhibitions, lectures and seminars throughout the event, which will address a range of topics from publishing and poetry to cultural diplomacy and music in the world of Islam. The festival is running from July 10th to July 27th.
ADACH, along with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development and Masdar are representing the UAE officially at the Assilah Festival as a guest of honour this year.