mon 20/05/2024

Morocco

CD: Tamikrest - Kidal

Tamikrest’s fourth album is well-presented, good enough, but a little hamstrung by what have become the clichés of the modern Touareg genre: the lilting rhythms of a camel cruising slowly across the dunes, intertwined guitars that smoothly swirl...

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Casablanca

You must remember this. It’s December 1941, the month of Pearl Harbour. Richard Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), an American, probably a Communist, who fought Franco in Spain and ran guns to Ethiopia when Mussolini invaded, has given up the fight against...

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Allied

While it makes for a moderately amusing evening out, this World War Two espionage-romance caper doesn't stand up to a lot of scrutiny (I'm trying to work out where they managed to find the "Best Film of the Year!" quote used in the TV ad). Stars...

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Mobydick: North Africa's outrageous rapper

A couple of years ago I saw an extraordinary outdoor concert where a rapper called Muslim (great name if you want to be hard to find on Google) performed at the Timitar Festival in Agadir in the South of Morocco to 80,000 delirious fans. The song...

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Our Kind of Traitor

John Le Carré made it quite clear what he thinks of the new world order in The Night Manager. All together now: a nexus of corrupt money and sinister establishment interests make for cynical realpolitik. It’s a persuasive weltanschauung that plays...

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Le Corsaire, English National Ballet, Coliseum

It’s being sold as the ideal ballet for first-timers, but I would blush to introduce even my neighbour’s cat to this Carry On Up the Harem hokum. Worse, its silliness verges on offensive. When, in Rudolph Nureyev’s 1990s production of La Bayadère...

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CD: Benjamin Taubkin - Al Qantara - The Bridge

Geoff Dyer’s book on jazz But Beautiful predicted the future of jazz would come from places like North Africa and this is a perfect example. Southern Morocco has become a hothouse of cultural fusion, partly due the number of foreign musicians...

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10 Questions for Bassist Marcus Miller

This year’s edition of the Gnawa Festival in the medina of the beautiful coastal town of Essaouira featured two spectacular fusions – between Bessekou Kouyate with Hamid El Kasri on the closing Sunday night, and on Saturday night – in the early...

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theartsdesk in Fes: A world music festival that's a beacon of tolerance

You are or maybe wish you were at Glastonbury this weekend. Not me. I last went six years ago and it’s just too big for me. And you need about four different passes to get backstage should you have a good or a bad reason to get there. Too...

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theartsdesk at the Marrakech Biennale: "Where Are We Now?"

Whether fingerprint or labyrinth, the swirly logo for Marrakech Biennale 5 feels apt. The festival has left its mark upon the city. It questions Moroccan notions of identity. And, going by the tagline, “Where are we now?” it reflects the ease with...

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'The Rolling Stones of Morocco' - Nass El Ghiwane's music of protest

Fly into Morocco on Royal Air Maroc, and as in-flight entertainment on the overhead screens you’re treated to Charlie Chaplin shorts from the 1910s, still sharp as a tack, the little guy goosing authority, the law, the rich, the powerful. The Little...

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theartsdesk in Fes: Patti Smith and the Sufis

“The boy looked at Johnny – he was surrounded by white and blue tiles, in the medina.” Patti Smith was improvising on her classic album Horses in her first, compelling, gig in Morocco. Smith has a history of Moroccan connections: she knew the...

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