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Shoppers treated to Moroccan folklore

Abhishek G. Bhaya
Filed on June 2, 2007

DUBAI — Shoppers at Mall of the Emirates were treated to some foot-tapping Morrocan folk performance for the last 10 days.

An all-Moroccan musical group, Muleh Ismail, enthralled the shoppers with the traditional Dakka Marrakichi performance at the mall’s Galleria every evening between May 20 and 31. The shows were sponsored by Etisalat.

So delighted were the shoppers with this additional extravaganza, that a number of them were seen dancing along with the professionals. “The music was infectious. I couldn’t resist shaking a leg on the rhythmic beats. Besides it’s a nice way to get some relief after shopping, which could be quite tiring at times,” said Abbas, a shopper.

Aziz, a Moroccan himself, who works for a cafeteria in the mall, was all excited. “It’s always nice to hear your own music. I love dancing to Dakka Marrakichi and these artists have inspired me to just do the same,” he quipped.

Encouraged by the audience feedback, the Moroccan artists made their performance more interactive. “It’s a great feeling when you see your audience enjoying your art. I improvised the lyrics of the songs as if I’m having a conversation with the audience,” said Ismail, the group’s lead vocalist.

It was the second time that the eight-member group was performing in Dubai. “We had performed here during last year’s shopping festival. The crowd here is really encouraging,” said group member Sayeed.

Dakka Marrakichi has traditionally been associated with shopping festivals. The music, consisting of polyrhythmic percussion and choral chants, is performed to celebrate a special festival every year in the Moroccan city of Marrakech (from where it derives its name). Craftsmen and shopkeepers from different neighbourhoods perform these rhythms as a tribute to the Sabaatou Rijal, the city’s seven spiritual patrons.

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