Music can heal
It is said to be capable of inducing a healing trance state – Stambeli, a mystical music and dance form related to the
Moroccan Gnawa tradition most commonly takes place in the street. Stambeli was first created in Tunisia by enslaved people from Central Africa.
They found each other and were influenced by traditions such as Arab Sufism. The frenetic music calls back to a past of oppression, for example in the use of metal castanets – said to refer to the chains worn by enslaved people. The American-Iraqi trumpeter Amir ElSaffar breathes new life into Stambeli, together with musicians from Tunisia, Mali and other countries of the continent.
In doing so, he makes a cultural connection between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. This project first began in the Tunis medina, and can be seen here both on the streets of Amsterdam Nieuw-West and in the Muziekgebouw concert hall.