This year (2015) the German-based Morgenland Festival presented its programs in Amsterdam as well. The concerts took place at Bimhuis for three nights (16-17-18 July) and specially first and third night's events were warmly received by the audience.
But I missed Middle Eastern music in this festival which is going to be focused on Middle Eastern music! I will explay more later.
KAYHAN KALHOR's performance was the most authenic part of the festival. This legendary maestro of Persian music and kamancheh recently has performed a lot of concerts in the Netherlands; one of the latest ones was the project "BACH IN PERSIA" with Dutch Wind Ensemble (NBE).
Cemil Qoçgiri played tanbur at the festival. I think not enough time was given to him to present his work. He was born in Germany and becauase of his name I think he has Turkish background. I could hear from the sound of his instrument that he is grown up outside the Middle East.
In the second night of the festival, the jazz pianist from Azerbaijan Salman Gambarov and his German colleague Florian Weber performed an entertaining program. The begining was quite long and then at the end they tried to turn their pianistic dialogue to a kind of commedy show which was intresting for the audience.
I was so eager to hear some melodies from the beautiful music of Azerbaijan by Gambarov but did not perform anything related to his homeland. Actually in my opinion at least 80% of the festival content was in the framework of improvised jazz music, not to the music of the Middle East and it was a bit disappointing for me because the title of the festival is Morgenland.
It seems most of the musicians at the festical were just interested to do strange things instead of transfering the real essence of music to the people.
KINAN AZMEH, a briliant musician from Syria. He was really the star of the festival. The skilful clarinestist was playing with lots of emotion. On Youtube I also find a piece that Kinan is performing with Morgenland Chamber Orchestra in Germany. Unfortunately the name of the composer is not mentioned there but anyway it's magical piece and performance. You may watch it HERE.
A huge part of the festival had been given to AYNUR. I really did not like her voice. She was screaming a lot and even once I had to use my hands to cover my ears! Anyway it seems she is the festival organizers' favorite!
IBRAHIM KEIVO was the most energic part of the festival. The Syrian singer had a powerful charecter and also sense of humor. He was singing and dancing with lots of emotions and created a fantastic communication with the audience. I heard from Syrian friends that Ibrahim Keivo is very popular in Syria.
A few minuets of his performance at Bimhuis can be seen in the below video: