Every year, 30 ODM students work towards a performance with guest coaches: for this edition, the students delve into Arabic music and make crossovers with their own cultural background. They do so together with coaches Mireille Bittar, Feras Khouri, and Sattar Al Saadi. For one week, they work on beautiful pieces, which they will perform on December 22.
Amsterdam is a city with one of the highest number of nationalities, according to the municipality's numbers. 'This great diversity brings a wide range of musical traditions,' says teacher and project leader Bas Gaakeer, 'We see a great curiosity among students about music traditions they don't yet know, and we also encourage them to keep an open mind, like with this project for example.' The Music in Education training is therefore genre-free, to offer inspiration from all cultures and genres.
Student Federico is one of the students performing on 22 December. The song he performs, Ashkee Lemeen, is about suffering: 'We always complain, we say life does not give us what we expect / our smiles give light to dark nights'. Federico: 'Arabic music is very honest. And it's not only enriching in terms of content but also musically. For instance, I have found that tones are a spectrum: in the Western world we think in semitones, but in Arabic music they even have quarter tones. I like to challenge myself with these quarter tones and beautiful ornamentations.'
And that is precisely Ma'an's strength, Bas explains: 'Our students develop their didactics, but they also like to be challenged musically. This project gives students the chance to put in a full week of artistic effort.'
Music is a carrier of stories. Bas: 'Music is culture and is very specific, but it can also create a connection across cultures, even when you don't understand the lyrics. Music speaks for itself.'
Ma'an will be performed on 22/12, 8 pm at Podium Mozaiek. Find more informationhere.