Kick-off of the 15th Jazzablanca Festival

The start of the festivities for the 15th edition of Jazzablanca was intense, with a remarkable crowd, a public more enthusiastic than ever, who had missed the spirit of Jazzablanca.

Opening, Stage 21 welcomed the Moroccan group Bab L’bluz, followed by the godfather of Ethiopian Jazz Mulatu Astatke.

On the Casa Anfa Stage, the artistic residency of trumpeter Erik Truffaz and Maâlem Hamid El Kasri delighted the amateur public. The evening ended with the breathtaking and long-awaited concert by Ibrahim Maâlouf.

“Come back stronger”: this is the challenge that Jazzablanca set itself after two years of absence linked to the pandemic. After a long wait, the festival made its big comeback this Friday, July 1, for an unprecedented 15th edition, located outdoors in Anfa Park. And this, to the great pleasure of the thousands of festival-goers who came to discover the new Jazzablanca formula. If their joy was palpable, it reached its apotheosis over the concerts that followed one another throughout the evening.

Designed and laid out as a real social place, the green and bright space that hosted this first evening of the festival has worked its charm. Outpouring of happiness, smiles everywhere, overflowing energy in every corner of Anfa Park… The warm atmosphere that reigned throughout this first evening confirmed once again the transformation of Jazzablanca into a space in its own right. More than a festival, it is the love of music and others that makes the Jazzablanca experience.

While the sun was still shining, the kick-off was given for this 15th edition, with the quartet Bab L’bluz on Stage 21. Led by the powerful voice of the young Yousra Mansour, the formation bewitched the first arrivals of the public on tunes of fusion between gnaoua, blues, rock, and Moroccan folklore by presenting his latest album “Nayda”.

Without transition, the brilliant Mulatu Astatke took over for a wonderful performance straight from Ethiopia. The father of Ethiopian jazz waltzed between vibraphone and congas, accompanying the audience towards a sublime sunset. No need for words: the compositions of the musician and the energy of the dancing crowd, mixed with a natural light at the end of the day gave rise to a performance that transports timeless.

Once night fell, trumpeter Erik Truffaz inaugurated the Casa Anfa stage with a magnificent solo, before being joined on stage by maâlem Hamid El Kasri, for a performance where the word fusion has never sounded better. The result of an artistic residency organized by Jazzablanca, the collaboration between these two artists was the very definition of a perfect symbiosis: for the duration of a concert that will go down in the annals of the festival, Truffaz’s trumpet only one with the guembri and the intense timbre of maâlem. All this, under the eyes of an audience amazed by the originality, accuracy and power of this collaboration.

Still on the Casa Anfa stage, trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf spoke to us about love. And not in just any language, since he presented to his audience excerpts from his latest album, “Capacity to love”, which is scheduled for release in November 2022. Jazzablancais were among the first to discover this surprising opus placed under the sign of tolerance, where tunes of rock, hip-hop and pop are combined. Requested by the public, Ibrahim Maalouf also delivered a sublime performance of his timeless piece “Beirut”, which, as usual, moved more than one.

Meanwhile, on the BMCI Stage at the Place des Nations-Unies, the Gnaoua genre was given pride of place. The maâlem Moktar Gania presented his first album “Gnawa Soul” there in front of a large audience, before being followed by Saad Tiouly. Originally from Casablanca, this passionate young musician was in his element to present his various titles, compositions and singles, equipped with a guembri that he masters to perfection.

The atmosphere and the artists of Jazzablanca still promise many surprises and emotions for the evenings of July 2 and 3.

Program for this Saturday, July 2:

Scene 21:

Natacha Atlas (Belgium / Jazz, world music) – 6:00 p.m.
Urban Folklore (Morocco / Jazz) – 7:15 p.m.

Casa Anfa scene:

Gilberto Gil (Brazil / Jazz, Samba) – 9:00 p.m.
Asaf Avidan (Israel / Folk, Blues) – 11:00 p.m.

BMCI scene:

Tasuta N-Imal (Morocco / Amazigh Fusion) – 7:00 p.m.
Hamid El Kasri (Morocco / Gnaoua) – 9:00 p.m.

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