By John Owoo
(In Rabat – Morocco)
Amazing voices characterized by the use of sustained tonality and a variety of vocal techniques rocked Palais Tazi and Salle Renaissance in down town Rabat during the second day of the 2019 edition of Visa for Music.
Undeniably vocalists for Baaya & the Salem El Madi (Morocco), Siti & the Band (Tanzania) and Soufiane Nhass (Morocco) displayed diverse skills with their voices, as they appeared to sing from the bottom of their hearts.
In a performance at Palais Tazi, Zanzibar based Siti & the Band surprised the multi racial audience with a dramatic blend of Oud and Qanun alongside western instruments resulting in a new synthesis of traditional Zanzibari sounds.
With a voice that cleaved trough the air like a sparrow Amina Omar, who also plays the Oud together with Ramah Ameir (violin), Gora Mohammed (Qanum) and Rasakey Tausir (keyboard / percussion), delighted the crowd with stagecraft and poise alongside dances and messages on domestic violence.
Originally based in the South of Morocco, Baaya and the Salam El Madhi Band mounted the stage and treated the crowd at Palais Tazi with traditional Moroccan music alongside Sahrawi, sufi and songs of the Madhi.
Indeed, the pliable voice of the lead singer was strong and clear in all tracks as a low range of traditional musical instruments kicked in with subtle rhythms turning the evening into a memorable one.
Earlier, Les Tambours Sacrés de la Reunion – a group based in the Indian Ocean Island of Reunion – infected the festival grounds with carnival-like music that was characterized by rapid flowing rhythms from light percussive instruments.
Held under the auspices of King Mohammed VI, Visa For Music aims at promoting the constitution of a music marketplace in Africa and the Middle East in order to offer greater visibility as well as an environment that favours creativity and professionalization in the cultural sector.
Directed by Brahim El Mazned, the festival is also a means to galvanize the cultural and creative industries of the concerned region in order to stimulate their economy while providing platforms for musicians to showcase the artistic creations and the stimulation of intellectual dialogues.