Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Abdelkader Saadoun at the EBRD

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 31st May, 2013

Abdelkader Saadoun 1Abdelkader Saadoun 2Though the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has traditionally focused on countries in central and eastern Europe and central Asia, parallel to the post-2010 Arab Awakening it has been getting involved in the southern and eastern Mediterranean as well, investing in projects, engaging in policy dialogue and providing advisory services to enterprises. In recognition of that new dimension last night the Bank’s HQ hosted a concert by Algerian-born musician Abdelkader Saadoun, who had put together an ad hoc little group of fellows from Tunisia, Morocco, Italy, Spain and Albania for the event. Rai is the most familiar North African music in Europe, but Saadoun and his band played a much more eclectic mix, drawing on traditional songs from both the Middle East and North Africa as well as blending styles, one constant thread being truly wicked percussion. The group was singing and playing to the converted, in the sense that the (free) concert had attracted both young expats from the region as well as enthusiasts of the genre, including a group of young North African women who enlivened the proceedings by ululating in dramatic fashion. As the host of EBRD the evening declared at the end, with measured understatement, the premises had never experienced anything quite like it. The event was staged in cooperation with Dash Arts, which has since 2005 been bringing exciting contemporary theatre, music and dance from all over the world to Western audiences, with a particular recent focus on Arab cultures.

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