Cultural Initiatives in North Africa and the Middle East
Fanfara Station is a trio that brings the power of a brass band and electronics to North African vocals and percussions:
Marzouk Mejri - voice, percussion, Tunisian winds, loops
Charles Ferris - trumpet, trombone, loops
Ghiaccioli e Branzini - elettronics and programming
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 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.
Fanfara Staton’s first demo EP was completed in May of 2016 and their first full album is slated for a fall 2017 release that will coincide with the premier of Ernesto Pagano’s documentary on the life of Marzouk Mejri.
The CD is of a composite fabric, a migrant’s blend: of old and new; of attachments to other lands and to new homes; of the spirit of creative (re)invention and nostalgia. The sound is the fruit of 10 years of collaborating between Mejri and Ferris Naples, a unique music scene in Italy that embraces both rootedness and hybrid innovations, and of Dalmasso’s experience with innovative electro-acoustic creations.
Talila is a song of celebration and well-wishing; it’s an evocation of the life inspired by traditional Tunisian folk music. Ferris’ trumpets follow Marzouk’s double-reed zurna and echo Macedonian dances, while the trombones tap into a cyclicity that is typical of both black Tunisian music and African American work songs. Rahil speaks of one of the many challenges faced by migrants who have found the courage to leave their country of origin only to find themselves blocked in a new city, in a single neighborhood, in a small marginalized space. And they give up and cease to seek the change that first drove their departure. Mariage is a love song in French that is happy and playful, even with the awareness that to love is to sacrifice and to dedicate time and energy to the other. Sus comes from the Neapolitan” ‘susete,’ which means rise up: rise up and meet me, I am hear for you. Love, understanding, desire and passion must be reciprocal. Gazela is inspired by Cicerenella, a traditional Neapolitan song that blends Tunisian and Campanian tammurriata rhythms. It tells the story of a restless girl who is also a bit capricious, who through the experience of love, finds serenity and satisfaction.