Bahrain: A musical production inspired by works of the late legendary Bahraini composer Majeed Marhoon will be showcased over two days at the Cultural Hall, next to Bahrain National Museum.
Spearheaded by Bahraini artists Hasan Hujairi and Esam Hammad, the ‘Symphonies of the Self’ is being produced under the umbrella of the Red Bull Music Academy in collaboration with the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, as part of this year’s Spring of Culture festival.
A number of local and international musicians will take to the stage tonight and tomorrow to perform pieces inspired by Mr Marhoon’s work.
Performing are the Bahrain Orchestra, Mr Hujairi, global electronic musicians Henrik Schwarz and Bugge Wesseltoft and Mr Marhoon’s close friend and singer Salman Zaiman.
Mr Hammad, better known as Cosmo, was also set to perform but had to cancel due to health reasons.
Mr Marhoon was a free-spirited musician, who documented his personal struggle, pain, love and loss through his music.
His musical creations were inspired by numerous genres and schools, including classical, African and Latin and he received international recognition from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music and the German Radio Symphony Orchestra who played his compositions.
“The idea for the project came about because Mr Marhoon was a Bahraini composer who many people don’t know much about,” said Mr Hujairi.
“The reason for me personally doing the project is I’m studying in Korea doing music composition and many people asked me about music composition in Bahrain and the person that came to mind was Majeed Marhoon.”
The concerts will feature acts centred on Mr Marhoon’s works.
“I will be using a computer to perform one of his earliest works electronically,” said Mr Hujairi.
“The orchestra will play seven pieces and Mr Schwarz and Mr Wesseltoft will be using Mr Marhoon’s work and performing around it; so, it will be an interesting surprise.
“The last performance will be a song written by Mr Marhoon and performed by Mr Zaiman who was a close friend of his and collaborated with him.”
“When you are asked to do a thing like this, to do something with such a special composer and artist, you try to do your best,” Mr Wesseltoft told the GDN.
“We have been working for some days, learning his music and then we try to adapt it into our world.”
A dozen compositions were presented to Mr Schwarz and Mr Wesseltoft to choose from and out of those they will perform three tonight and tomorrow.
“The three selected were the ones that most attached us and that was something we felt we could do something with,” said Mr Wesseltoft.
“All his music is fantastic, but some of the stuff felt more possible to use in Schwarz’s and my music world.”
Mr Hujairi said there are plans to follow up the event with another project at a later date.
Mr Marhoon composed music even when he was in jail, between 1968 and 1990, accused of planting a bomb in the car of a British intelligence officer on March 21, 1966.
Meanwhile, Red Bull Music Academy kicked off the weekend event with performances by Mr Schwarz, Mr Wesseltoft, Mr Hujairi and special guest Felipe Valenzuela at La Vinoteca Barcelona last night.
Mr Valenzuela has exported his unique brand of techno music from his home in Chile to Europe.
“My love of music started when I was five years old from my father, who liked to play the guitar and sing,” he said. “He realised I was good at the piano and he put me in classical piano lessons until I was 18 years old.”
Ahead of his performance, Mr Valenzuela told the GDN that his performance would be a surprise to the audience as he goes with the feeling when he is on stage.
“There is no style, it’s just what gives me goosebumps and I try to project my sensibility so the crowd will have the same feeling as me.”
Tickets to the concerts are available online at tickets.virginmegastore.me and www.springofculture.org.