Ibrahim Maalouf, the praise of interbreeding and "happiness despite everything"

Ibrahim Maalouf, the praise of interbreeding and “happiness despite everything”

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MARSEILLE: An ancient amphitheater where Brazilian sounds, jazz, Arabic music will intertwine: popstar trumpet player Ibrahim Maalouf will launch his new tour in the arenas of Arles (south of France) celebrating interbreeding and “the acceptance of differences (. ..) in a society where intolerance is growing”.

“The era in which we live is full of adversity, in particular as soon as we face something different, the reaction is often violent, there is a refusal”, confides in an interview the musician, who will present World premiere on June 25 of his show “Capacity to love” at the Les Escales du Cargo festival.

After Arles, he will scour Europe, including festivals in Montreux (Switzerland) and North Sea Jazz (Netherlands), before Canada and the United States in the fall.

“We live in a society where intolerance is growing more and more. + Capacity to love + is a kind of key, a solution, something that we lack a lot: the capacity to love, to accept differences” , explains this explorer of various musical genres.

Faced with the vibrations of a world upset by wars and pandemic, the trumpeter has decided to bring “happiness, celebration, benevolence” in his 16th album which will be released in November, with guests “almost on each title” .

“I come from a country where people have no other option but to continue to live despite everything, to raise their children in happiness despite everything”, says the man who was born 41 years ago in Lebanon. , ravaged by a long civil war (1975-1990) and still undermined by divisions and a deep social crisis.

“Music is the cure”

“Music is the cure”, we hear (in Portuguese) in the first title already released, “El Mundo”, on a rhythm of baile funk (music born in the favelas) written by the Brazilian singer Flavia Coelho, with a collaboration of DJ Tony Romera.

“It’s The world, El mundo, as I see it with all this diversity, all this benevolence, this diversity put at the service of benevolence. There are these dancers who come from all continents in the service of a small girl who lost her toy”, enthuses the trumpeter in reference to the video accompanying the song.

In this long sequence shot, Ibrahim Maalouf, Flavia Coelho, the dancer Salif Gueye and many others try by dancing to give the little girl back her teddy bear.

He “discovers every day” bridges between music and continents. When he took over the mythical singer of the Arab world Oum Kalthoum in a jazz quintet, people who loved Arab music told him: + Don’t touch Oum Kalthoum, you’ll damage it!”

“And the jazz people said to me: + Oum Kalthoum, it’s Arabic music, it can’t work in jazz,” he recalls. “But we have the same source, between jazz and Arabic music, it’s Africa, the +blue note”, it’s a quarter of your Arabic”, so it worked!”.

From interbreeding, he is not afraid of any loss of identity: “What does a loss of identity mean? Identity in itself is something that is supposed to be transformed. Obviously we evolve, we test things, that we meet other cultures and that the definition of who we are cannot stagnate”.

“I refuse to associate my artistic work with a political discourse”, however warns the musician who grew up in France, a country where the far right has again risen to the second round of the presidential election this year. “But like everyone else, I am a spectator, and therefore despite myself, there is a translation of these observations in my work and in the messages that I want to communicate”.

He is delighted to start the tour in “a place steeped in history”, the Roman arenas of Arles, invited by Jean-Marc Pailhole, tireless promoter of contemporary music in this city of 50,000 inhabitants and whose festival will also welcome Juliette Armanet, Selah Sue…

“The last time I was in Arles, I went to visit the arenas, I said to myself + wow, it’s so beautiful, I hope that one day we will play there!, says Ibrahim Maalouf, “C It’s big but warm, it allows you to keep a form of intimacy.”

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