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Timitar: a 'cultural crossroads'

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Timitar: a 'cultural crossroads'
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Around one million people poured into Agadir for the 10th anniversary edition of the Timitar Festival, a music festival which celebrates Berber songs, rhythms and culture.

Artistic director Brahim El Mazned explained its origins: “This festival was born to defend the Amazigh (Berber) culture, but also to welcome cultures from all over the world.”

Festival director Khalid Bazid added: “It is a peace mission, of openness, the whole world is welcome here. That’s why Berber music welcomes the music of the world, it is quite simply a cultural crossroads.”

Marcel Khalife is a Lebanese composer, singer and oud player who studied in Beirut. His work combines traditional Arabic music with Western sounds.

He told euronews: “There is everything, like the culture of Morocco, it is varied. So there’s everything in the music, there’s the Orient, the West, folklore, jazz, African music, there is everything, because you have to go further, there’s the horizon, there’s the light over there, we have to go together.”

Med Jbara is a self-taught Moroccan fusion rocker based in Agadir and is seen as a pioneer of the Moroccan music scene.

He said: “My rock, it is like international rock, but I play with Moroccan melodies, like you know the gnaoui, rai and chaabi. And we’re there to represent it, like we say contemporary Moroccan music also speaks of world peace and world brotherhood, everyone loves rock, and it’s expressive sound.”

There was even Mongolian punk music from the Chinese folk music group Hanggai, a band which uses both traditional instruments and modern sounds.

Founded in 1978 by comedians Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, the Original Blues Brothers Band disbanded, then re-formed in 1988, and then again in 1998 and still make regular appearances at music festivals – like Timitar

Musician Steve Cropper remembered the old days: “Really, every day we went to the studio, it was more like going to church on Sunday, it was just a good time, you left the outside, the doors closed you are inside, it was dark and you didn’t know what time it was and we played mad music and it was a lot of fun.”

Tommy McDonnell added: “This is the music I grew up on, I am just honoured to be on stage with these guys that wrote it and it’s the real deal.”

Algerian singer Cheb Khaled is a megastar in the Arab world and his last album ‘C’est La Vie’ sold one million copies in Europe alone in just two months. On stage he showed his support for the Berbers by wearing their flag.

Euronews’ Wolfgang Spindler covered all the the events at Timitar and concluded: “This festival plays an important role for the Berbers in finding their cultural identity – here the key note is “Ima Ziren”, which means long live the Berbers.”