Accademia del Piacere

Romances, Entre Oriente y Occidente

A scintillating meeting between classical and flamenco, East and West, in Accademia del Piacere’s new program. Old romances (ballads) are heard through the voices of Tunisian singer Ghalia Benali and Spanish soprano Marivi Blasco. When the last “moriscos”* were expelled from the Alpujarra mountains near Granada, it did by no means spell the disappearance of Islamic civilization from Spanish society. Throughout the centuries their musical culture has influenced Andalusian folklore, which in turn has fed flamenco. The elegant oriental vocal arabesques have been deeply embedded in the dna of the “cante jondo”, the old flamenco singing style. Accademia del Piacere’s sparkling performance makes clear what a musical breeding ground Andalusia once was, a veritable melting pot of Arabic, Christian and (after the discoveries of 1492) South-American music.

*Moriscos (from “moro”, Moor) was the name given to the Muslims in al-Ándalus (Andalusia) who had been baptized Christians following their forced conversion as decreed by the Catholic kings on 14 February, 1502.

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01 Feb 20:15 / Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam - order

Gambist Fami Alqhai was born in Seville in 1976 as the son of a Syrian father and a Palestinian mother. He was a part of Jordi Savall’s Hespèrion XXI before founding Accademia del Piacere in 2004 with his brother Rami Alqhai, which has developed into one of the most influential early music ensembles in Spain and Europe.

The young ensemble made a name for itself through their refreshing and creative way of interpreting Spanish Renaissance music (Rediscovering Spain) and Baroque and ancient music in general (Cantor de Amor, dedicated to Juan Hidalgo). In Las Idas y Vueltas, with singer Arcángel, they already explored the musical seesaw between the Old (European) World and the New World overseas (at the 2013 Flamenco Biennial). In Romances, Accademia de Piacere presents a new musical to and fro between East and West, where the old Moorish and Christian singing traditions are linked by the voices of Ghalia Benali from Tunisia and Marivi Blasco from Spain.
They will sing old Spanish “romances”, anonymous ballads telling of the conflict between Muslims and Christians, poetry by the poet, mystic and Muslim scholar Ibn Arabi (1165-1240), who sent his influential writings out into the world from Seville. But for this program they have also set to music new texts by Syrian poet and refugee Osama Sadawi and Egyptian Ahmad Salamony.