In The Spotlight

Caravanserai: A Place Where Cultures Meet

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Win Tickets for Caravanserai, 7:30-9:30 p.m. April 19, Walton Arts Center, Baum Walker Hall
Pre-Performance Creative Conversation, Public Performance and Post-Performance Reception
Tickets are $5 for students and $10-25 for community members.

Staff Report

It’s easy to forget people living thousands of miles from your home are in many ways just like you. They tell stories, sing songs, have families and a culture all their own. That’s why several advocates of the spreading of arts teamed up to bring back Caravanserai: A Place Where Cultures Meet. The show features masters of classical Judeo-Arabic music from Andalusian tradition, the Orchestra of Fes directed by the legendary Mohammed Briouel, accompanied by vocalist Francoise Atlan; but most importantly it features humans who have traveled the country sharing their stories with kids and adults alike.

The Free Weekly wanted to give our readers a chance to hear their stories, and get a glimpse into their performance to be held at the Walton Arts Center at 8 p.m. April 19. Two lucky winners will get a closer look with two tickets brought to you by the arts center and The Free Weekly. To enter to win, email editorfreekly@gmail.com or text 479-387-8794 one word describing a part of your cultural heritage. The winner will be announced Wednesday.

The Artists:

Mohammed Briouel

Born and raised in the city of Fes, Mohamed Briouel studied with Hadj Abdelkrim Raiss, one of the masters of Andalusian classical music. A violist by training, Briouel inherited the rich traditions of Arab-Andalusian music that have been preserved in ancient cities like Fes. He is now one of Morocco’s premiere orchestra and chamber group directors, and he directs the esteemed Music Conservatory of Fes, where he also teaches sol-fa, a form of musical notation specific to Arab-Andalusian classical music.

Francoise Atlan

Born and raised in Marrakech, Francoise Atlan is considered one of the world’s finest vocal interpreters of Sephardic music. After studying piano and chamber music at some of the world’s best musical conservatories in Saint-Etienne and Aix-en-Provence, France, Atlan refined her naturally lyrical singing voice under the tutelage of Andrea Guiot at the Paris Opera School.

A respected musicologist and song interpreter, Atlan teaches at conservatories in Switzerland, France and Morocco. She is the artistic director of the annual Essaouira Andalousies Atlantiques Festival, which celebrates the spirit and the culture of the Andalus. Francoise Atlan has devoted much of her career to exploring the Arab-Andalusian repertoire of the Fes tradition alongside Mohamed Briouel.

Kathy Wazana

Kathy Wazana is a Casablanca-born, Toronto-based writer, translator, editor-turned-documentary-filmmaker whose current work focuses on Jewish-Arab relations in Morocco and in Israel-Palestine.

A proponent of international cooperation and learning, a peace activist and an advocate for equity and human rights, Wazana has worked in politics and the labor movement, in educational television, publishing and advertising in government, public and media relations, and in international development, in France and in Canada.

In recent years, Wazana has turned her attention to studying and understanding Jewish-Arab relations through the history of Jews in Morocco and her own identity as an “Arab Jew.” Since 1994, she has spent several years observing and documenting the efforts of Israeli and Palestinian women and men engaged in a variety of peace initiatives at the political, community, academic and grassroots levels, both in Canada and the Middle East. In Canada, Wazana has spearheaded several joint Jewish-Arab community building initiatives, including the Playgrounds for Peace Fund, the Just Peace Seder and Mimouna, Cooks for Peace, and a Palestinian and Jewish Canadian women’s mission to Israel-Palestine.

The rupture provoked by the partition of Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel is the subject of Wazana’s first feature documentary “They Were Promised the Sea.” She will be joining us for the Caravanserai spring music residency and screening her film in Fayetteville 7 p.m. April 18 in Giffels Auditorium.

Orchestra of Fes: youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=N_0nGT0XeRI
Francoise Atlan: youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XbGSdRspbFg

To purchase tickets, visit the Walton Arts Center website

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