The Spirit of Essaouira at the Heart of Judeo-Arabic Culture

November 6, 2014 5:54 PM

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The Spirit of Essaouira at the Heart of Judeo-Arabic Culture

The autumn evening is still balmy and Essaouira's large sports hall is packed on this last Thursday, Oct. 30. Rabbi Haïm Louk has now taken his seat at the center of the Temsamani Orchestra from Tetuan conducted by Mohamed Amine El Akrami. At his right is seated another great Moroccan musical figure, the Arab singer Abderrahim Souiri. At the age of 72, Haïm Louk continues to be a spectacular tenor, with a voice full of refined colors and hues. Born in Morocco, already early on in his career he took part in the renewal of Moroccan music by developing its relations with the Arab-Andalusian tradition.

After an instrumental prelude that introduces the chosen mode, Haïm Louk's voice softly starts on a Hebrew melody in the medium register. It then takes off towards a higher register, swirls around a few pivotal notes in a phrase that seems virtually infinite, and then comes down again, elaborating o...

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