Friday, August 02, 2019

FRIDAY MUSIC: Al Andaluz Project, by JD

...tip of the hat to Mr Sackerson for this which popped up in his sidebar of random selections from the archive. I haven't yet checked out "Marko Markovitch's tremendously vibrant jazz band" but I did look for the Al Andaluz Project and they were very interesting.

They are a collaboration between a German group called Estampie and L'Ham de Foc from Valencia.

This from their web page -

"The encounter of the three "leading" cultures of the Middle-Ages - Muslim, Jewish and Christian - a topic as fascinating and controversal as ever - is reflected in the Al Andaluz Project by the origin of the involved musicians. Just recently violent-prone fundamentalist movements, whether religious or not, have taken centre stage of public debate. Unfortunately, the necessary basic knowledge of the matter is often fragmentary, this being due to a general ignorance of the historical context. And this in view of the incredible abundance of musical literature. In some regions this music has never ceased to be living tradition until today. Especially in the realm of music, the peaceful co-existence of the three great cultures lasted for centuries - a shining example for a mutually enriching and inspiring social life."

"Al-Ándalus is the name chosen by the Ummayad conquerors for the Iberian Peninsula. Moorish-governed Spain was not only famous for its tolerance and scholarship, but for prosperity, trade and flourishing arts as well. For many centuries, people with different religions - Muslim, Jewish and Christian - lived together in peace and inspired each other. Philosophers, poets, artists and musicians were most welcome at the courts of occidental rulers like Alfonso X "the Wise" of Castile, and made their artistic contribution to a unique merging of cultures."

The music is not all from Andalucia, the first video below is Portuguese/Galician* but it fits the style and the mood of all they do.

*Sackerson asks:

"Can you describe for our readers the technical differences between Portuguese/Galician music and Andalusian?"

JD replies:

Well I can try :)

This is a traditional version of the Portuguese/Galician song -

As you can tell the AlAndaluz Project adapted it to their Arabic/Sephardic rhythms and tunings but the melody is identifiably the same.

Their style of music is nothing like the popular image of Andalucian music, i.e. flamenco which has roots in the north African 'tarab' as I showed in my previous post -

The Al Andaluz Project web page mentions the influence of the Umayyad caliphate which had its origins in Damascus and they were one of the more enlightened sects of Islam in contrast to the Abbasids who drove them out of Damascus prompting their migration to Al Andalus. The link I had in the references helps to explain things -

I think there is a lot of guesswork goes into reconstructing history and as I have pointed out elsewhere historians only tell us about the 'gangsters' who, animal like, fight each other for power. They tell us little or nothing about how people lived and even less about their traditions and their arts and music but if we open our eyes and our ears we can get glimpses of the influences from one tradition to another.

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