Marzouk Mejri is a Tunisian songwriter and musician, he is considered one of the greatest percussionists living in Italy. He was born in Tebourba, about 30 km from the capital Tunis, in a family of musicians; his father was a famous snare player as well as a darbouka player. For 18 years he has been living in Naples, Italy, where he has collaborated with numerous famous musicians: Daniele Sepe, James Senese, Eduardo De Crescenzo, 99 Posse, Peppe Barra and many others…
Besides his work as musician, Marzouk is the leader of a Slow Food centre in Tebourba, Tunisia, where he helps to support a traditional hand-worked ancient grained couscous. Slow Food Tebourba sponsored the Music Festival in Tunisia, where his band Fanfara Station performed recently.
Fanfara Station is a trio that brings the power of a brass band and electronics to North African vocals and percussion.
Inspired by Marzouk’s memories of his father’s brass band, Fanfara Station celebrates the epic feats of the Mediterranean’s migrants, the musical cultures of the African diaspora and the flows that have long connected the Middle East, the Magreb, Southern Europe and the Americas.
Fanfara Station is a celebration with a Balkan brass band, an entire North African rhythm section and contemporary electro Dance beats. It’s a dance party created live by only three musicians thanks to the use of loop stations for live over-dubbing. The stage is filled with instruments: percussion: scascika, tar, bendir, darbuka and tabla next to the trumpet, trombone, clarinet and three Tunisian woodwinds: the nay, mizued and zocra. Then there are dozens of wires connecting loop stations, controllers and an array of effects pedals. A myriad of acoustic and electric sounds dialogue and sustain the voice of singer and song writer Marzouk Mejri.
The brass of Fanfara Station bring folk blues and Balkan accents into a electro acoustic North African universe represented by layers of percussion instruments, woodwinds and singing. Modern folk sensibilities are threaded into a contemporary electronic dance fabric.
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Suspended atmospheres and acceleration buttons. Swaying voices of the skins of the drums, inlays of flutes and reeds, the melismatic song of Marzouk Mejri, whippings of free jazz, funky and prog-rock, touches of electronic music, dub and reggae that are grafted on the forms and popular rhythms of the stambeli, on the ways
nobles of malouf, on expressions of Sufi mysticism.
Different cardinal points are those on which the Marzouk Ensemble show is based, combo of strongly international sound, with Charles Ferris (trumpet), Gigi Scialdone (bass), Pietro Santangelo (saxophones), Sasà Priore (keyboards) and Marcello Giannini (guitars). Notes and lyrics that declare a strong belonging to the millennial musical culture of Maghreb but also know in a fiery way to face existential, social and political issues of today, such as happens with the resumption of verses of the Tunisian poet Abulkasem Eschebbi, fierce opponent with the weapons of speech to the Tunisian tyranny and French colonialism. Songs of love, of faith, of courage in facing life.
The show proposed by the Marzouk Ensemble is a concert of meetings, a full sound practice world, which does not mean patinated global platitudes disguised as ethnic exoticism but confluence of sound humors and geographical origins, pervaded by spirituality, but animated from a clear metropolitan imprint. A garden of sounds (Genina, which means garden in Arabic, is the title of the debut album but also the name of the mother of Marzouk) that mix in an unprecedented interaction between rhythms, instruments and musical modalities.
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