Sonia M’Barek: Bridging Mediterranean Cultures Through Regional Music Genres

Tunisian Singer Sonia M’Barek will be playing at Florence Gould Hall in New York City on May 3rd.  M’Barek performs songs from genres originating from throughout the Mediterranean region, among them the Tunisian malouf, the Andalusian muwashah (like malouf, originating in Andalusia when it was part of the Islamic Empire), and the classical Egyptian Tarab tradition.

Regardless of the genre she is performing, M’Barek views music as a medium for promoting intercultural dialogue.  Johnny Farraj with the online magazine Jadaliyya, reviewing her 2012 performance at the City University of New York Graduate Center, wrote the following:

“For her concert tour ‘Mediterranean Voyage,’ she created a dialogue between Tunisian-Andalusian and Arabic maqam scales, rhythms, and instruments, and their Mediterranean counterparts from Spain, Italy, and France.  Her choice of lyrics was equally diverse, including Jacques Prévert’s poem ‘Les Feuilles Mortes’ (Autumn Leaves) translated into Arabic; a poem by the Tunisian poet Abou al-Qassem al-Shabi translated into French and Italian; and poems by Federico García Lorca from Spain, Nizar Qabbani from Syria, and Nâzım Hikmet from Turkey.  ‘Music is a means to create conversations between nations, away from economic and political conflicts.  Because of my conviction that music is an international language, I used it to create bridges in the Mediterranean region,’ she explained.”

The featured video is a March 2012 performance of the song  “Jadakal Ghaythu” at the Trinity Center for Urban Life in Philadelphia.


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