In my last post about the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, I didn't dwell very much on individual performances, since I was more concerned with conveying the feeling of being at the festival. So this time out, I'm taking the other route and just giving you a performance, sans any commentary from me. If you have never heard the Taarab music of Tanzania and Zanzibar, you may be surprised at how sweet it is. This is in large part due to the use of the Qanun, a most celestial sounding instrument. Taarab is a fairly recent genre, having been a court music created specifically for pleasure. There are even times when it sounds so pretty I find it ambient, and what with the beautiful sail-like shades shielding us from the sun in the courtyard floating serenely on the wind above us, the purely instrumental melodies sent more than one member of the audience into a trance. (As you will see, it even put a baby to sleep!) But when Shakila Saidi started to sing, she changed that dreamy vibe, and supplied just the right amount of edge to keep me alert and appreciative.
If you would like to know more about the Qanun and to see a demonstration of this fascinating instrument, I recommend checking out the Turkish virtuoso Tamer Pinarbasi, whom I covered in a former posting.