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AL MARAYA - 2010



The realization of that special idea is the history of the encounter of two music formations. Michael Popp, musical director of the group Estampie, well-known in the medieval music-scene for their innovation and quality, has never ceased to criticize publicly insubstantial academical parading of supposedly authentic performance or medieval ballyhoo and commerce. After one Estampie concert a visitor presented Michael with a recording and said: "This will probably find favour in your critical ears...". It was a record of the band L´Ham de Foc from Valencia (Spain) who have put a name on the map of world music with their typical mixture of mediterranean, oriental and medieval music. With a smaller by-project focussing on sephardic music, Amán Amán, the band was to guest just a few weeks later in Munich, Estampie´s homebase. Enthusiastic about the record, Michael Popp took the chance and proposed a mutual project to the Spanish musicians. It didn´t take long to find out that they were birds of a feather, like-minded in musical as well as in human views, and the project made quick progress during several visits to Valencia and Munich.

During these highly productive and inspiring encounters, musical experience was exchanged and absolutely new ideas came up. The result of this co-operation, the „Al-Andaluz-Project“, was first released at 15. July 2006 on the occasion of the Landshuter Hofmusiktage. The live recording was broadcast by the Bayerischer Rundfunk. The by now available album was recorded in November 2006 at the medieval Dominican Monastery La Cartuja near Seville.

The encounter of the three „leading“ cultures of the Middle-Ages – muslim, jewish and christian – a topic as fascinating and controversal as ever - is reflected in the Al-Andaluz-Project by the origin of the involved musicians. Just recently violent-prone fundamentalist movements, whether religious or not, have taken centre stage of public debate. Unfortunately, the necessary basic knowledge of the matter is often fragmentary, this being due to a general ignorance of the historical context. And this in view of the incredible abundance of musical literature. In some regions this music has never ceased to be living tradition until today. Especially in the realm of music, the peaceful co-existence of the three great cultures lasted for centuries – a shining example for a mutually enriching and inspiring social life.