Saturday, September 04, 2010


Every year, I see posters for Noches de Ramadan - a series of free concerts towards the end of Ramadan, organised by Casa Arabe. Last night we got our act together and went to one.

Gates opened at 9 o'clock on an outdoor tennis court in the Parque Casino de la Reina in Lavapiés, for a 10 o'clock concert by Oum, a singer whose music draws on her Moroccan roots, plus soul, funk, disco, fusion, jazz and rhythm and blues. Well, that's what the blurb said! We got there at 9.30, by which time all the chairs were taken, so we sat on the ground, with our backs against the railings, and a fine view of the stage.

Lovely atmosphere. Professional stage under a curved canopy, with music playing at sociable level over the speakers. Chat in Spanish, Arabic, English, French. Sweet Moroccan tea and biscuits in small tents with reasonable queues (and Chinese traders outside the gates selling cans of beer and plastic pint glasses). The place continued to fill, with more and more people picking their patch of asphalt and sitting on their programmes - though it's amazing how many people wandered round and round, scanning the rows of seats for an empty space, apparently quite baffled becausethat there weren't any. Bless.

A smoke machine sent a lazy cloud up towards the lighting rig, the music got louder, and at last they put the lights out on us, and after introductions in Spanish and Arabic, on she came, with three musicians that we could see, and another three or four out of our line of vision behind the speakers.

She opened with Aji, did Hamdoulah, Lik, and Shine. We only stayed for four songs, because I got tired of being walked over, and downright stroppy about the tall guy in the hat who sauntered over during the second song and stopped directly in front of me, alternately squatting and straightening up to hitch up his trousers and underpants. (Moral: next time, arrive early enough to bag a chair!) but when I got home, I googled Oum, and found every one of her Youtube tracks.

Click on this link to Oum's website to hear Lik, her first big hit. (I'm playing this track over and over again) and a couple of other tracks from her first album, Lik'Oum. These are smooth, melodious, funky, but she also got quite rocky on some songs. Eclectic is the word. And she sings in Arabic, French and English. Cracking musicians. Fab arrangements.

Glad I went.

But I still don't know why the security guy confiscated the top of my water bottle........... Duh?

No comments: