Today in Amman, we celebrated the Fête de la Musique, or “Eid Il-Musiqa” as it was dubbed. This festival was held at the Gardens of Al-Hussein amongst crowds enjoying the wonderful music of Nawazen, Sign of Thyme(Al-Tareeq ila Al-Za3tar), and Cheb Balowski.
The Fête de la Musique takes place in France, Switzerland, and Belgium on June 21, but as you can see, it is spreading out to different countries in Europe and around it. It was thought up by French culture minister Jack Lang in 1981 and first took place in 1982, it is the occasion of a mass celebration which has grown more and more successful over the last two decades.
Its purpose is to promote music in two ways:
1) Amateur musicians are encouraged to perform in the streets. The slogan Faites de la musique (Make music), a homophone of Fête de la Musique, is used to promote this goal.
2) Many free concerts are organized, making all genres of music accessible to the public.
An interesting fact that this is one of the only nights in the year where, under French law, there is no sound restriction at nighttime. One can party on without being bothered by neighbors calling the police. LOL, certainly not in Amman though!
Anyhow, the festival was absolutely amazing, and the bands played wonderfully! Each band that played has its own distinct flavor, and that made the whole festival very diverse and interesting. There was a good amount of people present, from all classes of society and from different places in Amman, and maybe even Jordan. I saw two of my blogging buddies, Ammar and Lina, both of whom I always get the pleasure of seeing in cultural events(cheers you two! you guys rock! viva la being cultured!)
Here’s a little more about the bands that played(in order of appearance):
Elia Khoury’s Nawazen:
Playing traditional Middle Eastern compositions with a 21st century twist, played on oud, string bass, and percussion.
Sign of Thyme:
Sign of Thyme is an attempt to represent the sound created by the intense diversity of influences floating in this place and time; this is the sound of Amman as they hear it, and their work is jazzing up the scales of Arabia, and adding the element of spiritual rapture to the grooves of a walking bass. I really enjoy their music, listen to a sample of it here.
Spanish band characterised by the “groove” in the songs and their rhythmic density, among melodies that go from Flamenco to Balkanic, Arabian, or Mediterranean, the band’s intersection.