"The basis of my music is Andalusian, but I mix in Boogie Woogie, Jazz and Latin. Despite this my music still has the resonance of the Maghreb." Maurice El Medioni
Maurice El Medioni was born in 1928 in the Algerian port of Oran into a Jewish family. When he was nine, his brother brought home an old piano he had bought at a flea market. Within days Maurice taught himself to play popular French songs he had heard on the radio.
In 1942, American troops arrived in Algeria and soon young Maurice was playing the piano at the US Forces Red Cross Bar in Oran. When the soldiers used his piano to play Jazz, Boogie-woogie and Rumba numbers, he would watch their fingers and quickly incorporated what he learnt into his own unique style.
After the Americans went home he teamed up with three Rai singers, learnt from the Andalucian music culture and eventually became pianist at the "l'Opera" in Oran, where he performed with other great Jewish-oriental artists like Lillie Boniche and Lili Labassi.
In 1962, after 8 years of civil war, Algeria gained independence from France and most Algerian Jews, including Maurice and his family, were forced into exile in France. Starting over again, he worked as a tailor but never stopped playing and soon established himself as a star of the Parisian cabaret scene.
Today he lives in Marseilles and international recognition of his unequalled style is still growing. His music still evokes the cosmopolitan era of Oran in the 1940's but Maurice El Medioni is also looking forward, fulfilling a dream, on the critically acclaimed Descarga Oriental album with Roberto Rodriguez, of a Cuban interpretation of his music.
And will we hear some duets (in the Barbican, London) between Oran's greatest singer (Khaled) and its finest pianist, El Medioni? "It would make the gig for me if we get the chance. Maurice has the real mentality of Oran. In Algeria, people who have a shadow in their soul, we say their angels are very heavy." He laughs. "Maurice's angels are very light." [...] "I've always loved the way Maurice plays. He represents the times when music was pure and there was no war between Jews and Arabs, when we met to make music and share things." Khaled interviewed by "The Independent" 19 June 2008
Main Booking Maurice El Medioni tel/fax +33 491 570 603 eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org
France RUN Productions Tel: +33 549 591 010 Fax: +33 549 524 410 eMail: email@example.com web: www.runprod.com
UK Kapa Productions Katerina Pavlakis eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org