June 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
By some predetermined happenstance, the Jazz au chellah 2011 music festival swooped down on me. I sat limp as a salmon in the harmolodic talons of the Czech, Austrian, and Moroccan performers. The venue (Chellah, see a post back in September or so) is one of Rabat’s few tourist draws. At night, the ancient walls, crumbling pillars, and cats seem as timeless as music itself. If I saw her on the street, I might have mistaken the first performer for a harridan. But with her opening bellowing- yes, bellowing- I decided I liked her. Truly, if there was ever an artist worthy of the “unclassifiable” genre, it was Iva Bittova. She muddled the borders of folk, jazz, and classical, added a dash of her own spice, and topped it off with some bird calls. It was without a doubt a courageous undertaking which she performed as unrestrained, in the way carnivores insist their way of life is natural. The second act was nothing to write home about; the Austrian duo more or less took us on a 40-minute elevator ride. No one was thrilled until they invited the final group, a Moroccan trio, onto the stage to finish the night in colloboration. The remaining audience hooted as they revisited several traditional Arabic songs, adding French horn and guitar solos. What could be more jazz than that? The festival goes on this weekend.