ASSILAH - African bands teamed up Friday night to give an exhilarating performance that sealed both the African week of music and the 41st edition of the Assilah International Cultural Moussem in grandiose style.
Morocco’s Gnaoua band “Wada” along with singer Nabyla Maan and her husband and guitarist Tarik fused with Cape Verdean band Simentera, Senegalese singer Dudu Kouate and Angolan artist Chalo Correia, forming Assilah 2019 band led by talented Cape Verdean musician Mario Lucio.
The opera-like concert was the fruit of one day of rehearsals, proving that music is a language that transcends the borders and brings Africa together.
“This is the first time in Africa that such concert is done institutionally as part of the African season of music,” Lucio told Middle East Online.
“We demonstrated that it was possible to set up a mixed band after a very short time of rehearsals,” said Lucio, who named the band “Assilah 2019.”
“An important part of music is improvisation. The audience was amazing because they react as soon as there is a beautiful piece,” he added.
Each musician played some of their songs in a synchronisation that evolved around a united song “N’gongo” (the world), heralding an epic melodrama that sent shivers down the spectators’ spine.
“This is the first time we sang together. The concert was a sheer fusion of authenticity and modernity of music, panache of cultures and civilisations and a Carrefour of exchanging ideas,” Kouate told Middle East Online.
“I’m convinced that only culture in all its forms can move things in Africa… because culture has succeeded where politics failed,” said Kouate.
The concert was an unforgettable evening at the theatre of the Prince Bandar Bin Salman Library that will mark Assilah as the hub of African music, especially after Lucio’s announcement that the northern Moroccan city will host next year the first edition of African music festival.
Lucio thanked Mohamed Benaissa, Secretary General of the Assilah Forum Foundation, for what he has and still is doing for African and the world in terms of culture and intellect.
“The festival is culminating in a big festivity in which all African bands from north to south are taking part and which celebrated the African creativity throughout the whole continents,” said Benaissa prior to the concert.
“It is an emotional moment because it’s the last concert. Separation is always hard,” he added.
Saad Guerraoui, Ph.D; is Deputy Editor-In-Chief of Middle East Online