This year we are lucky to have two specialist music groups for our Christmas Revels show. The Arab Andalus group of musicians is named Layali El Andalus and is led by Rachid Halihal.
Rachid is a world-class musician who brings, to us, the true character and spirit of music from Andalusian Spain, the diverse regions of Morocco, and North Africa. As a child, growing up in Morocco, Rachid played the nei and sang, imitating the famous singers of the time. At age fourteen he entered “Dar Aadyil” the Conservatory of Music in Fez. At first he studied Western classical and Andalus music on piano and violin. He soon expanded to include a variety of other instruments in order to better express his native music. In addition to his voice, which is best featured in the Andalus style, his strongest instruments are the oud (similar to a lute without frets) and the violin, which he plays in both the classical manner and upright resting on the knee for Moroccan folkloric music.
Rachid arrived this Friday evening (November 25th) from Colorado, where he was presenting workshops and concerts in Boulder and Denver. Soon after his arrival he began rehearsing with local musicians Tina Chancey (you’ll hear more about her soon) and Elisabeth Myers–Tina and Elisabeth will be joining Layali El Andalus on a few of their songs, and the Washington Revels chorus will be singing with the group as well.
Learn more about Rachid by visiting his Web site (rachidhalihalmusic.com). And, visit the Layali El Andalus band Web site to learn more about his group (ayalielandalus.com). We are so excited to have them as part of this year’s Christmas Revels.