Tunisia's Herb Music Festival kicks off on a high note, Jadal & Jazz Club of Tunis to perform
Music enthusiasts have already started enjoying a three-day art and music fair, uniquely called the Herb Festival, in downtown Tunis on Wednesday.
This is the festival's first run and will host three performances from March 26 to March 28 at 7 p.m. each night at the Mondial theater.
“The festival is our musical version of the Arab Spring, it’s open and independent. Its principal objective is to create a cultural movement, and prepare the ground for an alternative inter-Arab culture,” said festival spokesperson Lina Meganem.
On Wednesday, Tunisian artist Fadhel Boubaker and the Beyond Borders band kicked off the festival with their performances. These Tunisian and German musicians play a combination of North African folk music and jazz.
Jazz music will dominate the scene on Thursday (today) with The Jazz Club of Tunis's performance. The popular band seeks to spread awareness and appreciation of jazz and the values they believe are associated with it: openness to other cultures, tolerance, and innovation.
The Jordanian group Jadal (Arabic for Controversy) will finally rock the stage on Friday, the third and last day of the festival. The band, which has been playing since 2003, is considered a pioneer in Arab rock music and has a huge fan-base in the Arab world.
Despite the musical menu, the festival faced numerous financing and scheduling problems. The initial schedule had to be changed because it conflicted with another event taking place at the same venue, Meganem said.
“We lost financial partners because of the delay and had to reduce the duration of the festival,” she told Tunisia Live.
“Seven artists were supposed to perform. The number was eventually reduced to three,” she added.
The Maison des Arts cultural association organized the festival.
Meganem told Tunisia Live the name Herb Festival has more than one meaning.
“Herb for us announces the arrival of spring, but has other implicit connotations. It also refers to Law 52 related to drug consumption, which in our opinion should be reformed because many artists have fallen victims to it.”
Law 52 provides for one to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to 3,000 dinars ($1,900) for those caught “consuming or possessing for personal consumption narcotic plants and substances, in cases not authorised by law.”
Kafon, who sang the hook to the hit Tunisian song “Houmani,” was freed on March 19 after serving nine months in jail for using marijuana, reported Tunisia Live.net.