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Jazzablanca Weekend Highlights: Performances by Oum, Ben Harper, Ibrahim Maalouf… (photos)

Written by FDM

From July 1 to 3, big names from the national and international scene met at the 15th edition of the Jazzablanca festival organized this year at Anfa Park.

Jazzablanca celebrated its return by inviting A-listers from all over the world. The lineup included Ibrahim Maalouf, Gilberto Gil, Asaf Avidan, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Erik Truffaz feat Hamid El Kasri, Mulatu Astatke, Majid Bekkas, Seun Kuti, Oum or Natasha Atlas.


On Friday, July 1, the prodigious musicians Erik Truffaz and the Maâlem Hamid El Kasri performed together on stage for the first time. Their concert delivered an unprecedented fusion, mixing the jazz-electro rhythms of one, and the powerful timbre of the voice and the guembri of the other. The Casa Anfa stage then welcomed the trumpeter and composer Ibrahim Maalouf. The artist began an international tour which marks his return after a long absence from the stages.


On Saturday, July 2, Gilberto Gil, a leader in the fusion of jazz and Latin music, brightened up the evening with a repertoire that is part of the life and history of Brazil. Next on stage was Israeli composer, guitarist, and singer, Asaf Avidan performing for the first time in Morocco.

Sunday, July 3, a breath of fresh air blew over Anfa Park with the return of Oum. Having become a key figure on the Moroccan jazz scene, she performed her album “Daba” for the first time in Morocco. With titles like “Temma”, “Mezzinellil” and “Sadak”, this opus is a powerful hymn to the humanism, feminism, and spirituality that this accomplished artist advocates for.

The closing concert of the 15th edition of Jazzablanca was memorable with international star Ben Harper and his group The Innocent Criminals. Outstanding guitarist, the American singer celebrates his twenty-eight-year career. Originally navigating in an often militant folk-blues, Ben Harper developed his rock, reggae, or gospel influences through his 16 albums. With 4 Grammy Awards to his credit, the artist returns with The Innocent Criminals to offer a festive concert in joyful energy.

On Stage 21 (Village stage), Jazzablanca gave a special place this year to Moroccan and African artists. La Scène 21 offers a multitude of sounds combining jazz, afrobeat, blues, jazz-electro, Latin, and Gnawa fusions. The Moroccan group Bab L’Bluz and the father of Ethiopian jazz Mulatu Astatke performed on Friday, July 1, the Belgian singer of Egyptian-English origin Natacha Atlas and Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 on Saturday, July 2, and the Lyonnais trio EYM. E and the unmissable Maâlem Majid Bekkas on Sunday, July 3.