The intercultural project between Morocco and Canada consisted of matching a group of traditional Aboriginal musicians (Powwow) - RedTail Spirit Singers from Quebec to a group of desert blues - Generation Taragalte of M'Hamid El Ghizlane.

It was intended as a mean to raise public awareness of the benefits of intercultural exchanges, but also to promote communication, education and dialogue.

Thanks to the Embassy of Canada in Morocco, we spent 13 days in Morocco for the realization of this project.

Our trip took us from Casablanca to Marrakech where we spent one night before heading to the desert. 450km through the Atlas mountain, which has a culmination point of more than 4,000 meters. A stop in Ouarzazate, allowed us to rest before continuing our way to M'Hamid El Ghizlane.

M'Hamid El Ghizlane, formerly named Taragalte and whose name signifies 'the plain of gazelles' is roughly located 24km from the Algerian border. It is the last oasis before the vast Sahara desert.

It is there, that RedTail Spirit Singers settled for eight days. Five of these eight days were solely dedicated to a musical residency. The two groups exchanged and worked together on five songs, three of which were presented at the Festival Taragalte under the stars on October 28, 2017.

RedTail Spirit Singers left the desert to make another stopover in Marrakech where they were expected to perform at a school for autistic children. The magic of the drum did its work!

After a few weeks of well-deserved rest, it is now time to reflect on this edition of the project but also plan for 2018.

More to come in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, we invite you to read Akawui’ who gives you a personal opinion of his experience of this project.
http://akacruzandina.com/blog/morocco-under-the-stars/

Some additional photos of the residency and the show are available on the Azifoto website :
https://azifoto.com/taragalte-of-mhamid-el-ghizlane-morocco-the-2017-edition/

We would like to thank everyone who gave us their support during the development process but also to the festival-goers and artists that were present at the festival. Your words of encouragement made all the difference!

We can not ignore Atlas Experience and our driver Jamal (South Morocco Travel Transport Tourism) for bringing us safely everywhere we traveled. Thank you.

Festival Taragalte under the stars

The Taragalte Festival under the stars was created by Ibrahim and Halim Sbai and has been held annually since 2009 in M’Hamid El Ghizlane, in the province of Zagora in Morocco. In this region, between the Atlas and the Saharan dunes, artists and festival-goers from Morocco and around the world meet to enjoy the hospitality and cultural richness of the local populations.

For more information, visit http://www.taragalte.org/

Indigenous musicians from Canada – RedTail Spirit Singers

Founded in 2004, RedTail Spirit Singers made its debut in Kanehsatà:ke from a very modest idea of offering options to youth through singing, drum and dance workshops as well as all activities related to the pow wow.

Learn more about RedTail Spirit Singers

Wishe Tremblay
Frank Horn
Joey Partridge
Akawui Riquelme-Catalan

The original members—Jesse, Wishe, Frank and John—were selected not only on the basis of the knowledge they acquired from elders or music theory; but for their ability to serve as role models and a real desire to help.

Their mission is to sing and demonstrate that with wise choices, sustained effort and positive attitude, the results will be convincing.

Two new members joined the group in recent years: Akawui and Joey. They quickly realized that being a member of the RedTail Spirit Singers family is a commitment that goes beyond traditional music.

The arrival of Akawui brings new opportunities, notably at a world music competition in which a musical piece with pow wow score is paired with Akawui’s well-known percussive style. It is during this competition that Akawui wins the 2015 Syli d’Or de la Musique du Monde, the Afropop-Syli d’Or for his stage presence and is named ‘coup de coeur’ of Radio-France Internationale.

RedTail Spirit Singers has performed extensively across Canada and the United States for pow wow, conventions and festivals.

In 2012, alongside twenty other musicians from around the world and under the musical direction (and composition) of Katia Makdissi-Warren, the group participated in the concert Musiques transes du Moyen-Orient et d’Amérique du Nord combining and harmonizing four different styles. It was showcased at the Maison de la culture Ahuntsic-Cartierville in Montreal.

In 2015, they also participated in the opening ceremony of the Pan American Games Indigenous Pavilion in Toronto.

In March 2017, at the invitation of the High Commission of Canada in Trinidad and Tobago, the band offers a performance where their music is merged with Trinidad’s drums (steel pan).

Moroccan musicians – Génération Taragalte

Generation Taragalte’s repertory is inspired by the traditional songs that have punctuated the great trans-Saharan caravans over the centuries. Like some Moroccan groups such as the famous Nass El Ghiwane, they are influenced by songs performed by women poets (such as la guedra) and Saharawi tales, and harmonize them with blues and rock sounds. Their repertoire is a mix of Hassanya and Tamasheq language.

Learn more about Génération Taragalte

Brahim Sbai: Guitar, singer
Said Jardouj: Guitar, singer
Brahim Laghfiri: Guitar
Mustapha Jardouj: Bass, back-up singing
Mohamed Laghrissi: Percussions
Lakhlifa Balli: Calebasse, back-up singing

Repertory

Generation Taragalte’s repertory is inspired by the traditional songs that have punctuated the great trans-Saharan caravans over the centuries. Like some Moroccan groups such as the famous Nass El Ghiwane, they are influenced by songs performed by women poets (such as la guedra) and Saharawi tales, and harmonize them with blues and rock sounds. Their repertoire is a mix of Hassanya and Tamasheq language.

The desert is also a source of inspiration for their music. Their songs evoke themes such as the benefits it has on the soul, mind and body, nomadic culture and the preservation of the environment. Strong traditions and a way of life that is constantly changing are also key elements of their music. Their songs speak of their attachment to their hometown, M’Hamid El Ghizlane and reflects of its cultural mixture.

Influences

Generation Taragalte is influenced by Saharan music commonly called "desert blues". Two major figures come to mind: Tinariwen and Ali Farka Touré.

The music of Generation Taragalte is in constant evolution and is nourished by the artistic encounters that the group makes while traveling. Generation Taragalte has been part of the Cultural Caravan for Peace, whose purpose is to convey a message of peace, tolerance and friendship between cultures through music. The group had the opportunity to play with renowned artists (Terakaft, Khaira Arby, Ali Farka Band, Tartit, etc.)

It was in 2015 that Generation Taragalte gave for the first time a series of concerts on the European continent (The Netherlands, Belgium, France).

In June 2017, Génération Taragalte performed at the Timitar Festival in Agadir, Morocco, in addition to touring in the Netherlands.

Every year, Génération Taragalte also participates in an artistic residence arranged by the Festival Taragalte under the stars, during which the group had the opportunity to collaborate with artists such as Intidao, Saïd Tichiti and Sandra Amarie.

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/generationtaragalte/

Special Thanks

A special thanks to all those who believed in this project when it was only a vague idea and gave it their invaluable support.