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January 19, 2017

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Can music connect distant cultures?

December 26, 2017

Arabic music and flamenco merges almost as if it's the same thing. The muslim kingdom of Al-Andalus existed for seven hundred years in Spain, and the scales and sonorities used in the music of that time influenced all Spanish music. In later centuries the mutual influence kept on happening. The Andalusian music from the ancient Al-Andalus kingdom moved to north Africa and was kept in three forms, in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. The Jews that lived in Morocco played this Andalusian music, and wrote Hebrew words to these songs. After centuries, this music came to Israel, together with Jewish immigrants, in the 1950s.

 

Some decades passed, and I was born, sometime in Israel of the mid 80s. I wasn't aware of all of this rich past cultures until a few years back, during a time of my life that I was fully immersed in Spanish flamenco. My friend Tamar Bloch, the amazing Israeli Moroccan singer taught me some of these Hebrew Andalusian songs, and the connection to flamenco music was immediate. The amazing thing was, that using a Hebrew ancient song, set to a style of flamenco, connected my own Jewish origins strongly to the music I was studying for years already. Jewish music, Moroccan Andalusian music, and flamenco music, three cultures, that are also connected to three religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. All of these three come together using the bridge of musical fusion.

 

The final piece is the one just above, Yona (Rondeña de la Paloma), which was formed by the Moroccan melody togethe with my own musical composition. I like to open my concerts with this Rondeña, it is a small hommage to Paco de Lucia, which is one of my main ifluences in my music. He used to open many concerts with his own Rondeña.

When we decided to shot a video of my piece, I knew it also had to have something of a hommage to this master of masters. There is a video on youtube of Paco playing his Rondeña Doblan Campanas. This video was part of a television series about flamenco, done in the seventies in Spain, and it was all black and white. Just simple videos of great artists playing their flamenco.

Hope you enjoy my Rondeña and Paco's as well.

 

Love,

Ofer.

 

 

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