In first, Andalusian Orchestra Ashdod performs in Morocco
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Notes of harmony

In first, Andalusian Orchestra Ashdod performs in Morocco

After months of coordination and secret meetings, Israeli musicians and singers bring their classical Arabic music to Casablanca

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

A December 2018 performance of the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra Ashdod at Morocco's annual Andalussyat Festival (Courtesy Israeli Andalusian Orchestra Ashdod)
A December 2018 performance of the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra Ashdod at Morocco's annual Andalussyat Festival (Courtesy Israeli Andalusian Orchestra Ashdod)

The Israeli Andalusian Orchestra Ashdod celebrated a first this month when it brought its music to Morocco, opening the Andalussyat Festival in Casablanca.

The event, a celebrated annual concert in Morocco that is performed before local dignitaries, government officials and music lovers, was broadcast live on December 12 and extensively covered by the local media.

Prior to the performance, however, the Israeli orchestra’s presence in Morocco was a secret, a public relations official for the orchestra said.

She said the secrecy was necessary as a security precaution, in order not to endanger the Israeli musicians and members of the orchestra while in Morocco.

The event required extensive production and planning over the course of many months, with the Israeli and Moroccan artists, musicians and producers coordinating mostly in secret.

Israel does not have official diplomatic ties with Morocco but the North African state is considered one of the Arab world’s friendliest nations toward Israel. Tens of thousands of Israeli tourists visit Morocco annually.

Behind the scenes and during rehearsals, the Ashdod orchestra met with musicians from Algeria, Tunis and Libya, all of whom played together throughout the evening’s performance, the public relations official said.

The Ashdod orchestra featured 100 musicians, Andalusian choir members and soloists from Israel and Morocco, including Abdel Fattah Bennis, Benjamin Bouzaglo, Miriam Toukan, Maxime Karoutchi, Sanaa Marahati and Coco Turjeman.

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