Listen up! Moroccans in 'da Royal Opera House
Some of Morocco's best musicians showcased their musical traditions at a concert called "An Evening in Morocco" at the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) on Wednesday evening.
The concert featured three wonderful singers Abderrahim Souiri, Fuad Zbadi and Karima Skalli each accompanied by the Moroccan Ensemble for Arabic Music, conducted by Salah Cherkaoui, and the Oulad Bouazzaoui Folklore Group. No doubt it was the three singers who captured the hearts of the mainly Arab audience, especially with the references to Oman that they added to their lyrics.
Abderrahim Souiri's slightly raspy voice was complemented beautifully by the ensemble of strings, kanun, oud and percussion. He sang a selection of Andalucian music that showcased his rich voice.
Fuad Zbadi, a small man with a powerful voice and contagious, ever-present smile, was simply delightful. He let his voice soar through the auditorium, holding long notes that had the audience clapping. Karima Skalli was elegant and refined, with a silky voice full of emotion. Her performance of "Oh Night, Be Long or Not" was especially moving.
The Oulad Bouazzaoui Folklore Group consisted of an oud player, a kanun player, four percussionists and two female vocalists and dancers. The instrumentalists were wonderful and the oud and kanun solos were most impressive. The music was almost hypnotic and mesmerising, but the dancers were more of a distraction and the overall performance may have been stronger had they just sung.
The highlight of the evening came at the end when Souiri, Zbadi and Skalli, joined by one of the members of the folklore group, sang together with the ensemble. Their voices harmonized beautifully. When the song finished, the audience wanted more so they took turns singing without the musicians playing, letting the purity of their voices delight the crowd.
For many in at the ROHM, it was an unforgettable evening in Morocco.