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No Boundaries visits ESSAOUIRA

 

Known for its Dazzling light, the fishing community and delicious food, the artisanal marketplace, the riads and cafés in those narrow streets, and the incredible “Gnaoua” Music Festival: Essaouira is one of Morocco most historical town that combines Arab geometric design with French sophistication and the romance of the nomadic Berber tribes, contained in a medieval architecture fortress.

 

Essaouira has been for decades an attracting pole for majors artists like Jimi Hendrix and Mike Jagger in the 1950’s. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page recorded with gnawa artists for their album release in 1994, “No Carter”.  The town now hosts the Gnaoua Festival, an International event that include performances from traditional “Maalem” to Contemporary Jazz fusion artists.

 

This is also the place where the discovery starts, where The Winnie Dahlgren Sextet will be introduced to some of the Moroccan art form and its incredible community of traditional musicians, starting with the sound of the Gimbri and the percussive accelerating trance of gnaoua music.

 

Through this three-day trip, a team of artist, painters, photographs, writers and journalists, will meet with us to talk about the culture and art in Morocco, as well as meet with local musicians for jam sessions.

 

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No Boundaries visits PROJECT MAZAYA

 

 Mazaya was initiated by the Moroccan Philharmonic Orchestra’s (OPM) president Mr. Farid Bensaid and is endorsed by the holding group “Fondation Tenor, pour la culture”.

 

Mazaya is a non-profit project that provides and fully finances classical music training to talented children from disadvantaged social group in Rabat’s surrounding. The purpose of this project is to offer professional music training for their student for them to make a living with their art. It also provides job opportunities by directly integrating the Morocco Philharmonic Orchestra.

 

Those students are selected under scholarship based on their potential and are able to understand music concept relatively with ease. A team of highly trained classic music teachers also surrounds them in the afternoon, some hired in Europe, as well as teachers for general studies in the mornings.

 

 

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Sidi Belyout Music Conservatory

 

The French government established the National Conservatory in Morocco during the protectorate, with structures and a three-cycle classical music program approved by the French National Education, and what is supposed to represent the highest public education for music though it has been facing important issues for the last thirty years. Teachers only get paid $150 (1300dhs) per month and are too often deprived from their salaries for months in the row, which result to national protest and the incapacity for students to pass their exams.

 

Most teachers have to get other another source of income which result to the loss of instrument practice and in consequent teach with lack of motivation and solid music bases. Also, there is no budget for instrument maintenance or replacement, neither for the faculty members to get the sufficient resources and trainings from world-class musicians.

 

Among all of the national music conservatories that are owned and “managed” by the public functions of the Moroccan government, the one at Sidi Belyout probably has the most activities and is one of the few that manage to keep its activities running on a quasi-regular basis.

 

 

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No Boundaries meet sound engineering students at “CODA” Music School

 

“Coda” is a new music school in Casablanca that will open its doors in September 2013. A young Moroccan musician that was trained in New York City has developed it. In addition to being a regular private music school for amateur and professionals, it contains an incredible recording studio for professional sessions and used as a learning tool for amateurs.

 

With its two 530 square foot recording room, its auxiliary singing booth and its 270 sq. feet control room containing newest recording equipment, It provides a great studio experience and the ability to record the whole band live.

 

It is a great place for the Winnie Dahlgren Sextet to have a collaborative jam session with a traditional artist and keep a recording of this experience, while involving students enrolled in sound engineering program in colleges and universities to participate and learn from a North-American approach.

 

 

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No Boundaries visits L’BOULTEK

 

Founded by a group of music amateurs who needed a non-profit platform for local artist, L’boultek became an important meeting place for musicians and the only rehearsal complex in the country that provide such a variety of facilities, activities and entertainment.

 

L’Boultek was preceded by a music festival that evolved in twelve years from a little competition in a small room to a four-day event in stadiums with world-class music bands. This event is called “L’Boulvard des Jeunes Musicians”. Now local bands have the opportunity to perform for a large audience, get prizes and endorsement for recording sessions and videos.

 

This institution gather a community of rock, metal rap, reggae and world music artists that fuse those style with Moroccan traditional music. Some bands like Hoba Hoba Spirit or Darga became a figure for the local population through L’Boultek.  It also connects with artists that have established themselves nationally, who regularly perform, tour and write music, as well as painters, writers, sculptors, photographs and journalists.

 

 

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WINNIE DAHLGREN SEXTET 

 Concert Fusion with local artists

 

One incredible thing about music is its universal language that let every musician to share culture and art into musical form. For that reason, we offered the opportunity to a concert promoter to produce the Winnie Dahlgren Sextet on stage for a Contemporary Jazz concert, in fusion with local artists as invited guests.

 

Through this collaboration, we want the musicians to explore the infinite possibilities of merging contemporary jazz with traditional north African music for a live demonstration as financially accessible as possible to the audience.