Taghounja Listening Party and Conversations on Sound

17 September 2023 / 3 - 4:30pm

This is an in person event at Castlefield Gallery
£3 / free for anyone on a low-income and Castlefield Gallery Associates.
Please pre-book HERE.

Taghounja Listening Party and Conversations on Sound, chaired by radio producer Alexa Kruger, musician and composer SAAD ELBARAKA, musician and actor Mokhtar Hsina, and artist Jessica El Mal.

Join us on Sunday 17 September to experience Taghounja (2023) loud, through high quality speakers, followed by a discussion interrogating sound as a medium, oral tradition and the role of both within ecological concerns.

A Call to Action!

By attending this event you will be supporting people affected by the Morocco earthquake. 

On Friday 8 September, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Morocco and was followed by a significant aftershock. The epicentre was in the High Atlas Mountains, south of Marrakesh. Some of the worst affected areas are remote and mountainous, making them hard to reach. Thousands have died, many more are critically injured. Hundreds of thousands are displaced from their homes, without access to water, food, or shelter. 

The artists taking part in the Taghounja Listening event have expressed the wish that their fees are directed towards supporting the people of Morocco affected by the earthquake. 

Castlefield Gallery will also be donating all proceeds from ticket sales for the event.  

Jessica and her fellow artists kindly ask that even if you can’t attend, you consider donating to Moroccan lead organisations on the ground, for example Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihood’s Association (MBLA), Banque Alimentaire Morocco, or Amal Women’s Training Center, or a non-profit on the ground who have launched a relief fund to support the victims of earthquake in the affected areas in El Haouz region, where the epicentre is. 

You can donate to Amal’s fund here or Banque Alimentaire here

Please donate today! However small, your support can make a big difference. 

To learn more about new work made by Jessica El Mal with her community in Morocco and the UK, including work developed in the area of the very much affected High Atlas Mountains, see here

Those on the ground need your support to continue with urgent work in the areas of search and rescue, provision of water, food, shelter, evacuation, medical and health care. These are severe and immediate needs. Of importance is planning and action needed in the weeks and months to come and for the longer-term. 

Taghounja draws out the musicality of the rain and its links between culture, spirituality and song. El Mal worked with musician Saad Elbaraka and Oud player Mokhtar Hsina. The piece also includes a popular children’s chant which wishes for the rain to come and sound sampled from Zeft (a 1984 film by Tayeb Saddiki) in particular the sound of the agricultural machinery, dialogue about rain, and the sound of rain. 

Jessica El Mal is an artist and curator based between Morocco and the UK. Her artistic projects centre care, collectivity and notions of the sublime as an act of resistance. In addition to her art practice, she is the director of A.MAL Projects, an international art and research initiative, curator at The Arab British Centre and a current WROCAH PhD candidate at Leeds University. 

Alexa Kruger is a radio producer and music educator. Living between Manchester and Marrakech, she is interested in the intersections of music, storytelling and spirituality within gendered spaces and conducted her MA research on traditional women’s music in Marrakech. Her radio programmes are primarily music-oriented and often explores a wide range of artists, genres and experimental sounds from around the world. Her previous work as a music educator and workshop facilitator in schools and arts/cultural organisations in both the UK and Morocco is one of great joy and she maintains her involvement in educational activities whenever possible.

Mokhtar Hsina is a 28-year-old multidisciplinary artist originally from Sahara, based in Casablanca. He has been passionate about art since a young age and has specialised in music (singing and instruments) theatre, and creativity. He is active in the community and cultural scene and has considerable experience on both national and international stages.

SAAD ELBARAKA is an artist, performer, writer and multi-genre music producer. Born and raised in Casablanca, the city has greatly influenced El Baraka’s vision of aesthetics and sonic expression. His sound is textured by urbanism and the years spent operating within the underground music scene of the city. Using analogue machines such as synthesisers, tape recorders and drum machines, virtual tools and computer softwares are removed from his creation process. This organic construction gives way for human presence, imperfection, grain and noise, which are the pillars of his phonaesthetic. Saad Elbaraka is one of the three co-founders of the collective Studio Noujoum la Gironde (SNLG), an experimental initiative that explores art as a transformative vector in the limits of contemporary vision and social challenges. Dedicated to the context in which he derives from, his work is testament to the grind and effort of the DIY and underground scene in Morocco.

This event is part of Hybrid Futures, a multi-part collaboration focusing on climate, sustainability, collaborative learning and co-production between Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, Touchstones Rochdale, University of Salford Art Collection and Shezad Dawood Studio, and generously supported by Arts Council England and Art Fund.

Learn more about Hybrid Futures at hybrid-futures.salford.ac.uk

Image: Preview of The Poetics of Water at Castlefield Gallery. Photo by Kate Hardy.