SEFFARINE (MOROCCO/USA), THE ARAB BLUES (LEBANON/EGYPT/USA)
Date(s) - 10/04/2022
Born in the ancient city of Fes, Morocco, internationally acclaimed singer Lamiae Naki and her ensemble Seffarine channel their deep knowledge of the music of both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar, the crossroad where African, Middle Eastern and European cultures meet. From the 9th to 15th centuries these cultures coexisted peacefully, producing a seminal musical alchemy that influenced the foundations of both classical Arabic and European Renaissance music. In the 21st Century, Seffarine embraces and extends the rich legacy of this golden age of tolerance and exchange between Muslim, Jewish and Christian cultures by creating fresh, innovative works reconnecting these shared Mediterranean roots. Charged with texture and color, Seffarine concerts carry the audience on a vibrant musical journey, channeling the heart-wrenching joy of the music and dance of North Africa and southern Spain to wide acclaim. Described by Bass Player Magazine as a “gorgeous intersection of Spanish flamenco, Arabic and Andalusian music, Persian classical and jazz,” Naki’s fluid, riveting vocals entwine elegantly with Nat Hulskamp’s expert flamenco guitar and oud. Persian classical master Bobak Salehi’s sweeping kamancheh (spike fiddle) and tar (Persian lute) play off bassist Damian Erskine’s grooves and the drums and explosive flamenco dance of Manuel Gutierrez. Diving deep into the drama and technical prowess that characterizes these traditions, Seffarine invites listeners to hear with fresh ears the age-old conversation that spanned a sea, reminding us of the connections and histories modern identities disguise. Seffarine has performed at prestigious events and venues around the world, like the Lake Tahoe World Concert, winning over audiences from Indonesia to Spain. They have brought their musical vision and cultural knowledge to community audiences and schools, including a recent tour of rural Montana schools on the Fort Peck Reservation. The ensemble has a strong history of support from the field: in 2017, Seffarine was selected by the Western Arts Alliance as one of three Launchpad Artists. Their debut album, “De Fez a Jerez” was supported by a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, allowing the group to work and record in Jerez, Spain with several of the living legends of flamenco music. The album received international acclaim and placed in the Transglobal World Music Charts top 20 world music releases, selected by a panel of 43 world music experts, and was named one of the “best African albums of 2015” by prestigious African music blog Afribuku. Seffarine takes its name from the ancient metalworking square in Lamiae’s home city of Fes, Morocco. Her family is well known in the Seffarine as master metalworkers continuing the tradition today. The square dates back to the 9th century and is famous for the complex rhythms that can be heard from the blacksmiths’ hammers.