CaixaForum hosts the 8th World Music Festival, a broad panorama fostering intercultural dialogue through music
Barcelona, 30 September 2003
On Friday 3 October, the Iranian vocal and instrumental group Masters of Persian Music will launch this year’s World Musics Festival, an event organised annually by ”la Caixa” Foundation. On this occasion, the Festival will highlight Persian culture, with three concerts that will give us different perspectives on the music and traditions of modern-day Iran, complemented by a lecture programme that will draw us to the past and present of the art and poetry of this age-old tradition. With a spirit unequivocally open to dialogue and to enriching cultural exchange, the Festival will also feature music from such countries as Palestine, Kurdistan and Tibet, with the participation of some of their most charismatic representatives, those who have contributed most to the revival, survival and diffusion of their respective traditions. Neighbouring cultures, such as the Portuguese, or distant ones, such as the Korean, also form part of the Festival, which moreover includes an interesting panorama of present-day African music from three different viewpoints: those of Tunisia, Mali and Angola. In addition to the aforementioned lecture programme, the Festival will be complemented by, among other parallel activities, a special concert by musicians from around the world who reside in Catalonia, three master classes in traditional Arabic singing, and four family concerts.
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT PERSIAN CULTURE: IRAN
Classical Persian music will be one of the main highlights of this 8th World Music Festival of ”la Caixa” Foundation, with the staging of three concerts that will gather, from different viewpoints, some of the most prestigious performers of this tradition. The outstanding group Masters of Persian Music will offer a preliminary approximation at the Festival’s opening concert (Friday 3 October, at 9:00 p.m.), through the voice of Mohammed Reza Shajarian, one of the most celebrated interpreters of the classical repertoire known as the radif. He will be accompanied by such instrumental virtuosos as the lutenist Hossein Alizadeh, the viola player Kayhan Kalhor and his son Homayoun Shajarian on percussion. If this first concert demonstrates the predominance of text, characteristic of the entire classical Arabic culture, and the close ties binding music, mysticism and poetry, the second one, featuring Hossein Alizadeh and Homayoun Shajarian (Saturday 4 October, at 9:00 p.m.), will be a master class on the art of improvisation, transformed into an initiatory medium of inner progress, making it possible to reach spiritual maturity by overcoming different stages. This very conception is found in the third and last of these concerts, where Majid Kiani one of the greatest virtuosos of the santur (a zither-like instrument), whose difficulty of execution is matched only by the brilliance of its captivating sounds and Shahram Kiani (zarf percussion) will reveal the opulence and colours of the art of ornamentation (Sunday 5 October, at 7:00 p.m.). To enable us to delve deeper into the past and present of Persian art and poetry, the concerts will be complemented over this three-day period by the lecture programme Persia: Words and Images presented by Anna Maria Briongos, Mercè Viladrich and Xavier Antich, respectively. These speakers will endeavour to draw spectators to this culture and help them enjoy the concerts more intensely through a more thorough knowledge of it.
MUSIC FORMS IN EXILE: PALESTINE, KURDISTAN AND TIBET
Adel Salameh (Palestine), Sivan Perwer (Kurdistan) and the monks from the monastery of Triten Norbu Tsè who make up the music and dance troupe Tibetaine Bönpo Tcham (Tibet) share the fact that they have carried out most of their activity in exile, from where they have played vital roles in the revival, development and dissemination of their respective traditions. All three have won both the admiration and affection of their people and international critical acclaim. Adel Salameh is one of the leading modern-day researchers and players of the Arabic lute today. At the concert he will give as part of the Festival (Friday 10 October, at 9:00 p.m.), he will present not only the fruit of his tireless research, but also his virtuosity. He will be accompanied by a classical group, in which his wife, the subtle singer Naziha Azzouz, stands out in her own right. Sivan Perwer is the most popular Kurdish singer of his generation. Direct heir to the age-old troubadour tradition of the dengbêj, his songs have already earned their place in the collective repertoire of his homeland, where he is considered a true legend and a beloved symbol of the survival of its very culture. With his prodigious singing voice and powerful communication skills, Perwer, accompanied by his band, will offer a concert revealing all the nuances of the heartfelt music of his people (Saturday 11 October, at 9:00 p.m.). Another age-old culture, that of Tibet, will be represented at the Festival by the music and dance group Tibetaine Bönpo Tcham. With a conception of dance as an art integrating other arts instrumental and vocal music, poetry, theatre, visual art, choreography, makeup and wardrobe to enhance their religious fervour, Tibetaine Bönpo Tcham will offer a spellbinding performance through the sacred dances of the Tibetan Bön, the most ancient of the five main spiritual traditions of Tibet (Friday 24 October, at 9:00 p.m.).
FROM TRADITIONAL FADO TO SHAMANIC SHINAWI MUSIC: PORTUGAL AND KOREA
The spirit of the World Music Festival of ”la Caixa” Foundation, which aims to present a broad panorama of international cultural diversity, opens this vast intercultural mosaic, offered year after year, to all types of musical traditions, from the closest to the most remote. Portugal will be represented by one of the most famous voices of traditional fado music at its purest: Argentina Santos (Saturday 25 October, at 9:00 p.m.). With a career spanning over 50 years devoted to the historical interpretation of this music form, this grande dame trained in the “fadista” tradition of the charismatic Alfama quarter where she operates one of the oldest fado houses in Lisbon will convey all the feeling, mystery and controlled emotion of her unique renditions. The Sanjo & Shinawi group will come to the Festival from Korea (Thursday, 9 October, at 9:00 p.m.). It is led by Kim Young-jae, one of the most important composers and performers of traditional Korean music, which he has researched in depth, to the point where he is one of its top experts. The group takes its name from two popular instrumental music forms based on a structured improvisation (sanjo) that is derived from the musical accompaniment of the shamanic ceremonies and rituals (shinawi), considered today to be the most representative form of Korean chamber music. The formal structure of the group makes it possible to enjoy both the technical virtuosity of the performers and the rich clarity of the instruments and their harmonies.
THREE VISIONS OF AFRICA: TUNISIA, MALI AND ANGOLA
Like a kaleidoscope, the 8th World Music Festival of ”la Caixa” Foundation will also offer an interesting panoply of some of the different cultures that coexist on the African continent. On the one hand, the traditional Arabic music from North Africa will be represented by Sonia M’Barek (Tunisia), who will contribute to the common search for the t”rab mystical ecstasy through her remarkable, fascinating voice (Saturday 18 October, at 9:00 p.m.). Internationally renowned not only for the quality of her voice but also for her valuable musicological work on the preservation and updating of Tunisian sacred music, the roots of which are found in that of mediaeval Arabic Spain (Al-Andalus) and a true diva in her country, Sonia M’Barek will maximise her visit to the Festival by also imparting master classes in Arabic singing. These will be held on 18-19 October. On the other hand, Rokia Traoré, who hails from Mali in West Africa, will introduce the public to yet another age-old tradition that she will reinterpret in a style that is contemporary and unmistakably her own (Sunday 19 October, at 7:00 p.m.). Cradle of ancient kingdoms and civilisations, in recent years Mali has produced a genuine caste of fine performers who have made a powerful contribution to the international divulgation of the country’s musical traditions, especially those of the nomadic troubadours known as the jelis. Rokia Traoré has imbibed these sources which have influenced all her compositions, endowing them nonetheless with personal sounds and harmonies that make her voice one of the most alluring, interesting and captivating in Africa today. Finally, from Angola, a little further south, Bonga will complete this three-way panoramic view of African music with the Festival’s closing concert scheduled for Sunday 26 October, at 7:00 p.m. A living legend in his country for his tireless work on behalf of Angola’s independence, Bonga who abandoned his colonial, Portuguese name of Jose Adelino Barcelo de Carvalho for Bonga Kuenda, in the language of his forebears has played an important role in the revival of traditional Angolan music. Today, a distinguished representative and divulger of this tradition, he employs his husky, deeply expressive voice to open up a universe that is both rhythmical and nostalgic, that of the Angolan semba, the African root of the more widely known Brazilian samba.
In addition to the aforementioned lectures on Persian art and poetry and master classes in Arabic singing that we have mentioned, the 8th World Music Festival will include, as it has in the past, the programming of family concerts, four on this occasion. The first of these will offer a second chance to hear Sivan Perwer (Kurdistan) and his band (Sunday 12 October, at 12:30 p.m.). The Afro-American vocal group Linda Tillery & The Cultural Heritage Choir (United States) will perform at the second of these family concerts (Saturday 18 October, at 12:30 p.m.). Traditional East European Jewish music will be present with the trio of klezmer musicians of Kroke (Poland) in the third of the concerts (Sunday 9 November, at 12:30 p.m.). Finally, Poets and Musicians of Rajasthan: Manghaniyars and Langas (India) will immerse spectators in the lyrical paradise of the ancient courtesan and modern-day rural traditions of Rajasthan, the land of princes or rajahs (Saturday 15 November, at 12:30 p.m.). This year, the Festival will launch a new section, devoted to world music played in Catalonia, with a special concert entitled Performers from Around the World Living in Catalonia presented by the anthropologist Albert Costa (Friday 17 October, at 9:00 p.m.).
Throughout the Festival, the CaixaForum Media Library will make available, for all who are interested, a series of DVD films which, complete with commentary, feature key moments in traditional music. The World Music in DVD programme is a wide-ranging exploration of different musical traditions from all over the planet, through both live concert footage and revealing, informative documentaries. All are aimed at providing greater insight into the music and culture of these traditions.
Parallel to the Festival itself, CaixaForum will host other related activities, such as the symposium Voices of Egypt: Writing Itineraries (Contemporary Egyptian Literature) (7 and 8 November), which will highlight some of the most relevant voices on the current Egyptian literary scene, or the exhibition New Arabic Video: Algeria, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, comprising a selection of videotapes of these countries presented by different creators and programmers (21-25 October, at 7:30 p.m.).
8th World Music Festival
From 3 to 26 October
Music Service of ”la Caixa” Foundation
Avda. Marquès de Comillas, 6-8
Family concerts: 3
Special concert – “Performers from Around the World Living in Catalonia”: 10
Lectures: “Persia: Words and Images”: 2 per session
Students, senior citizens and the unemployed: 20% discount
Youth Card and +25 Card: 50% discount
Master classes in Arabic singing:
Participating students: 25 (the three work sessions)
Listeners: 3 per session or 8 for the three sessions
Beginning 16 September, through ServiCaixa of ”la Caixa” (up to three hours prior to the concert)
At CaixaForum ticket offices, open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Information Service of ”la Caixa” Foundation: Telephone: 902 22 30 40