Music rooms

Far away from the commotion of the city, re-discover the precious atmosphere of former music rooms.

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Chota Divana © Niels Stotenborg

In a private and acoustic atmosphere, music rooms are an invitation to gain inspiratin from traditions that have travelled through stone deserts as well as the palaces of Maharajahs, notably with the Chota Divana children vocal ensemble from Rajasthan or the Nepali sitarist Narendra Bataju. Traditions travel as much as musical instruments: a harp can just as easily be royal and Burmese as can be Celtic. When played by Robin Huw Bowen, it retains the constant finesse in its timbre despite the ruggedness of the Welsh mountainous landscapes.

Also native to the mountains – those of the Chaoui region in the east of Algeria – women’s throaty voices resound in the deep and almost declaimed singing of Houria Aïchi. “The mountain woman appeared like a benevolent goddess because she merged with the elements of nature”, said the Berber writer Mahammad Khair-Eddine. She often makes the connection between what is natural and the supernatural: as with the Cuban singer Martha Galarraga, who draws inspiration from the Santeria ritual, or with Nyathi women in Zimbabwe. In distant Asia, a woman musician symbolizes refinement, as does Liu-Fang and her lute, or Ahn Sook-sun, who carries the epic memory of Korean dynasties.

September 29th 2007 - Robin Huw Bowen and Afo Gwilym, harp and Celtic songs (Wales)

At the origins of the Welsh harp and on the occasion of the ‘Mêlée des cultures’ event (A cultural mix), this first music room is a musical way of celebrating rugby while paying homage to the Celtic tradition of Wales. Robin Huw Bowen has mastered this art to perfection and is one of the most important figures in traditional music. His influence on popular music and his contribution to the repertoires of harp music in Gaelic culture is considerable. 

October 13th 2007 - Liu Fang, Pipa Lute (China)

Liu Fang is one of the great soloists of the Guzheng zither and the pipa lute: a Chinese instrument that dates back to the 2nd century B.C. She already has 5 albums to her name. Her music is inspired by influences from across the world.

November 10th 2007 - AHN Sook-sun, Pansori singing (South Korea)

Dating to the beginning of the 18th century, Pansori originates from the shamanic rites of working class Korean society. Blending song and speech, this narrative poem, at once epic and sentimental, cultivates social satire and double talk. What we retain from Pansori is the image of an artist – often a woman – the gwangdae, in traditional Korean dress, pacing with a fan in hand, with a large plait that serves as a tray. The greatest artist of this genre today, AHN Sook-sun, will perform the Heung Bo Gah Pansori, accompanied on a tambourine by CHO Yong-Su. The concert is surtitled.

December 8th 2007 - Nyathi, traditional song and mbira (Zimbabwe)

Musician and medium, Judith Juma sings and plays the mbira: a traditional instrument of the Shona people that has been played for centuries in the ‘mapira’ or ritual healing ceremonies. During certain ceremonies, Judith Juma embodies the spirit of her grandfather, from whence the name Nyathi comes. In collaboration with the 8th ‘Voix de Femmes’ Festival in Belgium.

January 12th 2008 - Narendra Bataju and Latif Khan, sitar and tabla (India and Nepal)

Today, Narendra Bataju is considered an exceptional musician by music lovers and his peers alike. Ravi Shankar was so impressed by his “innate talent, his sense of musical emotion and his virtuosity as an artist” that he took him on as a disciple. In 1972, he decided to come to Europe to enrich his musical experience and settled in Paris. Ever since, he has been giving sitar and singing lessons and touring across Europe.

February 2nd 2008 - Houria Aïchi, songs from Aurès (Algeria)

It was in the courtyard of the house where she was born that Houria Aïchi first discovered singing. In Batna, in the Berber mountains, on the edge of the Sahara, the women often gather to sing and as a child, Houria would run from house to house joining in with them. For twelve years of age, Houria Aïchi has performed the ancient songs of the Aurès women as a homage to Algerian woman; an ode to liberty. Today, Houria Aïchi lends her voice to the repertoire of songs from her country, Algeria.

March 15th 2008 – Burmese Harp and classical songs (Myanmar)

In the context of the shows of the musée du quai Branly, ‘the body: a mirror of the feminine’ selection.

April 12th 2008 - Martha Galarraga, Afro-Cuban songs (Cuba)

From a family of Cuban artists, Martha Galarraga offers with Galarumba a sparkling cocktail that mixes Yoruba folklore, bossa, soul, jazz, funk, salsa and bolero. “Cuban by birth, but a citizen of the world by obligation”, Martha Galarraga is originally from Luyano, a working class quarter of Havana, and has been immersed in Yoruba culture since her birth. For eight years, she travelled the world to rhythm of ‘Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba’ with which she was the soloist. It was alongside Omar Sosa in Europe that she discovered jazz, participated in jazz festivals across the world and even sang at Carnegie Hall.

May 24th 2008 - Chota Divana, children’s voices and viellas from Rajasthan

‘The little princes of Rajasthan’

The ‘manghaniyar’ and ‘langa’ musicians and poets of the desert are princely, charming and arrogant with beauty and virtuosity. They possess the majesty of their environment: Rajasthan (a sanskrit word meaning ‘land of princes’). Today, the number of traditional artists has diminished. That is why the elders are creating genuine schools of music to preserve this tradition. Children are initiated at the age of eight and from then on, they carry one of the most brilliant traditions of the Indian continent within themselves.

Two concerts: 5:00 pm. and 7:00 pm.