Visa for Music

Visa for Music is the first professional market for African and Middle-Eastern musics. Held every November, it is one of the largest festivals in these regions and attracts artists from many countries. It s a key festival for African, Middle-Eastern and European record labels, with different motivations and outlooks, to identify new artists.

This field lab presents an opportunity to meet with one of the festivals directors – Othman Nejmeddine as he prepares for the 2015 festival which will occur 3 weeks after this event. Discussion with Othman offers a unique opportunity to pose questions to someone who is both deeply engaged in establishing organisations for the preservation of folkloric cultures, whilst simultaneously being actively engaged with the global culture industry in the development of Visa for Music – the African and Middle Eastern equivalent to SXSW.

In the morning Othman will give a presentation about the two primary aspects of his work; Visa for Music and the preservation of folk music and dance. This will be followed by an opportunity for students to pose questions and discuss the cultural, practical and ethical challenges that are encountered in undertaking such work in Morocco. This will also provide an insight into how theoretical models of the culture industry apply in beyond the traditional western conception.

In the afternoon performances will be given by two ensembles, demonstrating different aspects of Morocco’s diverse traditions. After these performances a panel discussion will be held in which the SAS participants will be able to directly ask the performers questions. This presents a rare opportunity to explore how theories presented in ethno-musicology and cultural theory can apply in field.

Academic objectives:

  1. To explore how folkloric music and traditions are being sustained
  2. To undertake first hand ethno-musicological research and apply theoretical knowledge in the field
  3. To explore the relevance of commercial considerations in the development of musical styles.