Bluegrass, Moroccan-Style


Last week a few American friends and I attended a bluegrass concert at the Centre Culturel Sidi Belyout. A Moroccan bluegrass band had been touring Morocco with a couple of musicians from the states with thick but very charming southern American accents. This kind of event is put on for free by various American associations and the State Department in an effort to promote appreciation of American culture. (insert obvious and misinformed joke about the US’s lack of true culture, har har)

As much as I loved reminiscing about Fourth of July barbeques and basking in nostalgia with my American friends, here is what really blew my mind: a bluegrass take on a hugely popular Andalusian song. The lyrics–the refrain at least, which a friend taught me and which has been playing in loop in my head ever since–basically ask, “Why worry? God will take care of me.” This was a great choice for the finale. The audience, mostly Moroccans, sang along. The combination of American folk music and Moroccan (Andalusian) folk music was breathtakingly beautiful.

1 Comment

Filed under American culture, cultural understanding, Moroccan music, Moroccan-American Studies, Uncategorized

One response to “Bluegrass, Moroccan-Style

  1. Sam Day

    In a similar vein, there is currently a show in Paris featuring the music of immigrant musicians at Parc de la Villette (www.caberetsauvage.com). On the poster for the event, it says “Made in France”. Strange, comprehensible in a way, and offputting: this underscores the intrinsic ambivalance in cultural exchange, that is, something that is both desired and rejected, loved and hated at the same time.
    Cultural exchange is both an enrichment and a degradation of the given culture, separate and apart from the power relationship between two cultures, which is a whole ‘nother question. It depends upon the way one looks at it, or, perhaps more fittingly, upon whose ox is gored. A culture serves to differentiate, so to blur this differentiation naturally will cause mixed feelings, typically.

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