Sunday, January 26, 4:30 to 6:30 pm
Amazigh (Berber) musician
Moh Alileche & Ensemble
music of North Africa

 

north africas destinyMoh Alileche, born in Kabylia in the mountains of Algeria, came to the San Francisco Bay Area and took up residence in 1990.  A few years ago, in 2011, he relocated to Portland, but he travels back to this area from time to time, and we are fortunate to be able to present him once again to Bird & Beckett audiences with a fine ensemble of local musicians — long-time associates who have well learned the music of Moh’s home culture.

The Imazighen are indigenous people of North Africa dating back to at least 10,000 B.C., whose home encompasses a vast area extending from Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania on the Atlantic coast across Algeria, Tunisia and Libya and into Egypt as far as the Nile, including the coastal plains and the Atlas Mountains in the north and the desert regions south to the Niger River — a huge area known as the Maghreb, or Tamazgha — the Berber world, or Barbary.

Islam came to the Imazighen in the 7th century, permeating the region as the people retained their language and culture but adopted the religion.  The Moors who brought Muslim rule to the Iberian peninsula in the 8th century were Imazighen and Arabs of North Africa.  Arab domination of the Imazighen began to be felt more completely in the 11th century.  During the period of European colonization and with their subsequent independence, the countries of North Africa generally marginalized Amazigh identity and language.  In recent decades, however, Amazigh identity and language have been reasserted, despite thorough-going and often violent oppression, requiring concerted resistance and struggle.  The Imazighen have had to fight to reassert their identity, making their language and music tools of their resistance and leading to a great flowering of their culture.

Born in 1959, Moh was orphaned at a young age upon the execution of his father by the French Army in Algeria’s war for independence.  As a youth, he taught himself to play the folk and traditional music of the Imazighen on a handmade one stringed instrument, later learning the Spanish guitar and eventually, the 10-stringed mondol, of which he is considered a master.  His music reflects the Amazigh culture, and the songs that he has composed, written and sung in Kabyl, are informed by the plight of the Imazighen and the often brutal challenges with which they continue to be confronted in the modern day.

More information can be found at Moh’s website, http://www.flagoffreedom.com/

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