Thursday, May 08, 2014

'Arabesques', a music festival in Montpellier

The seventh edition of Arabesques in May 2012 was promoted by a booklet illustrated with pictures of musicians, singers and postage stamps.

This music festival is officially named "Meetings of the Arts of the Arabic World" (Rencontres des arts du monde arabe). It is organised by the association Uni'Sons in the park owned by the Departmental Council of Hérault at the Château d'O, a folie in Montpellier.

This 2012 booklet was distributed to promote the festival. It counted forty four square pages, fifteen centimeters wide. There were presented concerts, exhibitions, movies, etc.

Cover of the 2012 Arabesques program.
Inside, the six first double pages about the major night concerts are illustrated with an abundance of pictures and stamps.
Example of "The Three Magnificients" concert of Friday May 25.
Visas from passports, stamps both postal and fiscal cancelled with red or violet inks, on background made of maps of Southern Asia or Spain.

Watch the upper visa from the Iraq Embassy in London. Down and left is a postage stamp from Pakistan marked by a custom stamp explaining this state's rules of entry in English and a rectangular mark of a police station in Barcelona. On the right hand page two cancelled postage stamps from Pakistan:  a fifty paisa and a four anna service stamp.

On these concert pages, all these signs summarize the origins and migrations of the artists. Here Iraqi oud player Naseer Shamma, Pakistani sitarist Ashraf Sharif Khan and Spanish guitarist Niño Josele.

For the 26 of May concert, not illustrated here, the organisers chose the first day cancellation of Tlemcen used for the Fiftieth Anniversary of Emigration Day stamp of Algeria. It illustrated an evening of cabaret music by artists who immigrated in France.

Emir Albelkader.

Other happenings are presented more classically like the exhibition and educated discussion about Emir Abdelkader, both a resistant to French invasion and respected by French military at the time. The black and white reproduction of one of the stamps issued in his honor in Algeria (with the color, it could be either the return of his remains in 1965 or the anniversary of his birth in 1968).

If you miss stamps on your snail mail, don't forget places where the little sticky pieces of paper recalls origins, travels, histories and cultures...

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