An Unforgettable Night with Karima El Fillali

20 May 2024

This night, the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam hosted an extraordinary performance by Karima El Fillali.

As a stagehand and sound technician for this event, I was captivated by the stunning blend of trip-hop and Arabic poetry that filled the Grote Zaal.

The evening began with an introduction by Mohamedou Ould Slahi on Foyerdeck 1, for which I handled the sound. As the audience settled in, anticipation built for what would be a remarkable main program starting at 20:15.

Karima El Fillali, accompanied by Stijn van Beek on live electronics, low whistle, and uilleann pipes, Marcos Baggiani on drums and percussion, and Jamil al Asadi on qanun, delivered a performance that was nothing short of magical. Her voice, a force of nature, brought life to the ancient Sufi poetry of Ibn Arabi, Mansur al-Hallaj, and Rabia al-Adawiyya, seamlessly blending with modern musical elements.

What made this concert even more remarkable was the reaction of the audience. It’s rare for an audience to stand up during a concert, but such was the power of Karima’s performance that they couldn’t remain seated. The 4DSOUND installation added an extra spatial dimension, enveloping the listeners in a cocoon of sound that was both immersive and transformative.

Her voice, powerful and evocative, soared through the venue, leaving everyone in awe. The blend of traditional Arabic music with contemporary influences created a unique and mesmerizing experience that resonated deeply with everyone present.

The entire production was a testament to the skill and artistry of everyone involved, from the musicians to the technical crew. Being part of the build and load-out process, and handling the sound for the introduction, allowed me to appreciate the immense effort and dedication that went into making this night a success.

Karima El Fillali’s performance at the Muziekgebouw was an unforgettable experience, a perfect fusion of past and present, tradition and innovation. Her music, filled with passion and emotion, left a lasting impression on all who were fortunate enough to attend.