Now that it's almost over, I finally get around to writing about Tarab Tanger, a five-day long festival of traditional world music that is now in its third edition. For a discussion of the meaning of tarab, Oudman has a very thoughtful piece.
From the looks of it, this festival, one among the many in Morocco's very full calendar of music festivals, is a keeper. We look forward to many more years of this collection of top folk groups from the world over, with Moroccan music liberally sprinkled throughout the week.
But that's natural, given Morocco's wide range of musical styles. As writer, composer, and musicologist Paul Bowles wrote, "[Morocco has] as diversified a body of music as one could find in any land west of India."
Speaking of India, the opening night featured Samvâd, preceded by the Franco-Iranian group led by Alireza Ghrobani and Keyvan Chemirani. Both groups have a fantastic repertoire of string, percussion, and vocals, and Tarab Tanger's setting in the newly-restored Portuguese fort of Borj al-Hajoui, overlooking port and medina, is a fitting amalgam of Tangier's international past and present.
And last night, we attended an entrancing (literally) concert in the beautiful arcaded courtyard of the Kasbah Museum, an homage to music master Cheikh Ahmed Zaytuni by the Said Belcadi group, a Sufi order from Tangier. We've already attended a few Arab-Andalusian concerts here – and that is the specialty of Tarab Tanger's organizers, Confluences Musicales – but this Sufi concert was really the best so far.
Last year, we were dismayed to have arrived in Tangier just days too late for Tarab Tanger Number 2. Happily, this is an annual concert, and it really is a high point for traditional and world music enthusiasts.
Now, can we get an American traditional music group on next year's program?
(Image via Made In Medina)