Sunday, March 15, 2009


This group was also at the OAKE conference and deserves its own post. Libana has been singing together for 30 yrs. There are 6 members in the group. I couldn't tell if they'd all been together 30 yrs or if there had been member changes. I think the latter because some of the performers seemed like they were in their 30s.
From the group's website []: Libana is a women's world music ensemble that illuminates the creativity, vision, and spirit of the world's women through the performance of traditional and contemporary music and dance.
This group sang a capella and with simple accompaniment. The songs were in the native languages. The accompaniment might be drums and tambourines of various sizes and other small percussion instruments, a wind instrument, and a lute. Some of their music included traditional women's dances. Simple costuming - mainly scarves - completed their outfits of black.
Each song was of a different culture: Bulgarian, Armenian, Japanese, Arabic, etc. The variety kept the concert very entertaining. The groups learns many of their numbers first hand from people of the cultures. This gives great authenticity to their performances.
One song from the Middle East appealed to me. It was called a "zar" (I'm unsure of the spelling, but is pronounced the same as "tsar"). It is a healing song/dance where a woman joins with the women of her community and seeks healing (of some sort) through the music and movement. It is difficult to describe it. It had a couple or three singers and a dancer. The dancer moves as she is moved by the music. Then as the music's tempo, which begins slowly, builds feverishly the dancer's movements become more energetic. It was easy, as an audience member, to become caught up in the performance.
It is not very often that I thoroughly enjoy a group's performance. I did enjoy this group - so much so that I bought one of their CDs.

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