Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Algerian Evening

The sun has been hiding behind clouds and mist for the past few days - very English, which is a novelty for the locals but I'm drumming my fingers waiting for it to go.  Fortunately, the sun wil return on Tuesday.  

I was heading towards hibernation after going out on Friday, but I was taken out on Sunday too.
We went to the Kennedy Center - a cavernous 1960s style venue not far from the infamous Watergate Hotel.

Pic taken nearly halfway down the endless length of the hall - a stage at either end and a giant bronze bust of JFK in the center

For approximately a week, there were free concerts on the Millennium Stage, and art, jewelry and costume exhibits as part of the Center's Arabesque:  Arts of the Arab World series.

Unbelievably, it was announced that there is a free concert on the Millennium Stage 360 days of the year!!!  I should live there then!  And, you can watch the webcasts!

Anyway, Sunday's treat was Djamel Laroussi, an Algerian musician with his band of four playing for the first time in America (probably the first time for most of the other bands/ensembles this week).  Very lively, enriching, and fun.  Alors, c'etait super!

They kept us clapping in time, middle eastern women ululated, and there was a small knot of people at the front who wouldn't stop dancing, which annoyed the elderly ushers but on the last number, everyone got up so it was a lost cause.

Afterwards, in the mood for mideastern cuisine we drove into Maryland to eat a hearty Greek and Turkish dinner.


Selba said...

What a nice Sunday evening you had :)

The Moody Minstrel said...

It's always interesting to hear popular music from other countries. Quite often even if it uses modern, Western-style instruments, it still has its local flavor. I remember participating in an international event connected with JICA here in Japan. They had groups dancing to Egyptian and Kenyan pop music. It was loads of fun! I always love events like that.

Jo said...

That sounds like the perfect evening! :D

Olivia said...

Selby and Jo -

It was very nearly perfect, especially considering my companion for the evening. :)


Minstrel - my first exposure to a truly wide range of international music I owe to Microsoft Encarta! it was before the internet became what it is now, so I spent hours on there reading, watching, and listening to everything.

The media section was chocked full of music which opened my ears to new sounds. So for a little while I was listening to Algerian Rai which may be similar to Laroussi's sound.

Tea N. Crumpet said...

Every time I come to your site, my kids who are under 7 come to the computer and quack! I love the duck! Gotta love the duck!

Your Sunday sounds fun! I'd love to see these guys in Alaska!

Olivia said...

Tea - hahaha! How cute. And there I was thinking of changing it. I will try to find other pics to divert them.

Glo said...

...and who was this companion who shared this lovely evening??;) I bet you're happy to learn about the various concerts, and helpful that they're free. You're certainly enjoying many cultural experiences ~ again thanks for sharing!

Olivia said...

Glo - oooh, tis a mystery. Suffice to say, 3 dates in 8 days...

This town is awesome, but I am repeating myself now ;)

nikkipolani said...

That's funny, I was sure I left a comment here, but it has vaporized... Anyway, it sounds like a fun evening -- esp if it was a date ;-)

steve on the slow train said...

Three dates in eight days sounds promising. I've heard about the Arabesque exhibition on NPR. Glad you enjoyed the concert. BTW, I also heard that the National Archives is displaying the original Articles of Confederation. They're probably not allowed to be photographed, though.

Olivia said...

Nikki - I'll never know how comments get lost...


Steve - I was encouraged by someone *ahem* not to stay in and do job applications, but to go out and enjoy the day, on behalf of this someone who would be stuck in the office all day. So I went on a long walk.

Since I started out not feeling so good, I couldn't do more - I had been thinking of going to the National Archives.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it was a lovely and entertaining evening! You always find the neatest places to visit. I think I'll take a cue, and see whats going on about town, really soon.

Um Naief said...

never listened to algerian music before... wonder how similar it is to bahraini or lebanese... i should take a listen.

i have an algerian friend... she's open and friendly.. different than the locals in this area.

love that you're getting beautiful spring weather... :)

oh yeah.. i love turkish food. :)))

Guyana-Gyal said...

It sounds as though you're definitely in the right place.

I love all that music and art and food from other countries. When I was writing for tv, in the Caribbean, I quickly volunteered to produce the art show. I went to all the concerts, workshops, food exhibitions, haha, I was smarter than the other producers.

Olivia said...

Miss Fluff - now that I'm no longer in NYC I expect you to blog about the neat things you discover this spring!


Um Naief - I wonder if Algerians/Tunisians/Moroccans, those North African states formerly belonging to France, are a bit more relaxed than the other majority muslim nations?


Gyal - yep, the right place, I was just telling my dad on the phone last night and he actually thought of coming to see me sometime!

Ooh clever you, creating some lush assignments for yourself there! You have done so many amazing things, and you just don't know it.