Monday, January 23, 2017

Two Andalusian Orchestras

Last Sunday we were at a performance of the Ashdod Andalusian Orchestra; this week at a concetrt by the Jerusalem Andalusian Orchestra.

Generally these orchestras, both excellent, perform music, particularly Jewish music, from the Middle East -- mainly north Africa, Iraq, and Syria. Last week we heard a song from a Lebanese musical comedy of the 1950s, Arabic poems set to Arabic music, medeval Hebrew poems set to Arabic music, a modern Hebrew poem set to Israeli bedouin music, a Hebrew poem set to Israeli music in an Arab style, and similar pieces.

The Jerusalem orchestra tried something different: traditional French chanson with the music rearranged into the Andalusian style and rhthyms. Two vocal soloists sang, Ela Daniel much like the usual chanson style while the orchestral went excitedly Andalusian in accompanyment. David D'or was the other soloist, moving from counter-tenor to baritone. Ariel Brant soloed on the harmonica, though with eyes closed I'd have called it a saxaphone.

The conductor of the Jerusalem orchestra is wonderful to watch. He conducts with his entire body, a dancer directing the musicians.

Copyright 2017 Jane S. Fox

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