By John Owoo
(In Tunis – Tunisia)
An unflappable blend of symphonic music with traditional Tunisian instruments, songs and dances lighted up the plush Palais des Congrès in Tunis during one of the performances at the ongoing Carthage Music Festival.
Conducted by Sabri Aouni, who played the oud at the same time, the group kept the audience spellbound as they effectively fused traditional themes with orchestral interpretations while showcasing a brilliant mixture of local and western instruments.
Violins, saxophones, trombones, trumpets alongside tabla, derbouka, nay, zokra and others produced sounds that were amazingly bold and theatrical – as a variety of diverse rhythms moved into each other with remarkable ease.
With beautifully focused voices that flew through the air like birds in flight, the contrasting sounds equally inundated the hall while six lined up tablas announced their presence with subtle and loud notes of originality.
In spite of blurry endings, the show was an energetic and passionate performance, which attracted constant cheers as talented dancers constantly moved their arms and torsos in unison with rhythms and songs.
Youthful pianist Wadji Riahi and the North Africa band tickled the crowd with jazzy tunes laced with restrained local flavours. Indeed, with teasing glimpses of inspirational sounds, the group delivered a classic performance worthy of acclaim.
Powered by a lone flute and guitar – and later a huge tabla drum – the group endeared themselves to the hearts of members of the audience with a rendition that bordered on the edge of fusing jazz and Tunisian music.
Sybel, Tunis Air, Ben Jemåa Motors, Travel Todo, Institut Français, Access World, Samaris Events, Bitaka Group, Teskerti, RFI, TUNIS Visions, RFI, Media Net, Cult Art, Africable, Femmes, Sonlines, Silo and many others are supporting the festival, which ends on Saturday April 15.
Wiem Ben Amor