7.30pm Saturday, 2 July 2016
'Breaking Borders, Building Bridges'
One hundred years ago in May 1916 a secret agreement by the British and French outlined how the Middle East was to be carved up... and led to a century of conflict. Whatever you may think of the consequences of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, this Joglaresa concert programme celebrates 1000 years of Arabic, Jewish and Turkish music – before these artificial borders were created.
Directed by Belinda Sykes, this London-based ensemble has been playing since 1992. Now well-established, they are particularly interesting for the way in which they imaginatively push, and often transcend, the limits of what is often thought of as early music.
They were the first medieval band to develop a programme of songs entirely devoted to Mary Magdalen, and they were pioneers in programming medieval Jewish and Arabic texts for otherwise more-commonplace Iberian and Crusades programmes - their Crusades programme (The Scimitar and the Sword) represents the voices of Judaism and Islam alongside the Christian viewpoint, and their Arts Council-award-winning programme of medieval Hebrew/Arabic/Spanish song (Dreams of Andalusia) includes songs by medieval Arab-Andalusian poets and Spanish-Hebrew poets.
Their work focuses on connecting ancient and traditional musics but, rather than create a 'fusion' or a surreal mix of these styles, they aim to use their combined experiences (upbringings drenched in traditional Irish, English, Maghrebi, Balkan and Middle Eastern music) to create a homogenous sound - Joglaresa members spent years in North Africa and the Middle East absorbing the best traditional tunes, learning the local languages (Arabic and Hebrew).
As well as recording extensively on cd, their live performances include the Aldeburgh Festival, York Early Music Festival, London's Lufthansa Festival, the Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), St David's Hall (Cardiff), London's Barbican Centre, Sana'a & Aden (Yemen), Brezice Early Music Festival (Slovenia), Istanbul, Amsterdam International Festival of Jewish Music, Chinchilla Early Music Festival; tours in Germany, Belgium, Italy and Holland. Numerous radio broadcasts - the world over...
© 2016 Steyning Music Society