Monday, 28 November 2011

Quick Review: Rachid Haroun

From what I gather the lovely Festsaal bookers were fairly surprised to find out that one of their bouncers was also a percussionist in an Algerian wedding band. Inspired by his tales of weddings and north African music, they decided to bill his band as part of the recently held Since the Devil Is Gone I Mostly Feel Lonely folk festival at Monarch. I struck lucky and was invited to come along.

Of course I know nothing about Algerian music and there is no way for me to judge what's good and what's not. But let me tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. I do like north African and Arab folk music when I hear it and the voice of Rachid Haroun was mesmerizing. At the same time, I was reminded a little of traditional groups I had witnessed on my many travels to India. The instruments, the arrangement of the group and the clothing they wore were of course authentic Algerian, yet I thought about how traditional folk music is kind of similar around the globe. And that is sweet somehow.

The audience was mixed: some people of Algerian descent, some people who had come by invitation of the DJ and some curious others who wanted to witness what they could usually never be part of. Many were dancing, traditionally, and the band played for hours, literally. The atmosphere was so fun yet relaxed, it made me want to be part of a culture which appreciates music in this way.

Of course I will not start going to lots of north African music events and I will not start taking the kind of Volkshochschule classes that bored middle-aged housewives attend in order to spice up their lives. But I did enjoy the experience and my mind has been broaden just that little bit further. Grab those opportunities when they arise!

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