Maurice El Médioni
- label:Piranha Records
- type: Solist, Composer/Songwriter
- instrumentation:instrumental, vocal
Maurice el Médioni’s trademark lifework, PianOriental, remains an ever-inspiring example of how to create positive sparks from the encounters of different cultures. His music exemplifies the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Oran’s past music scene, when it was the melting pot for all kinds of religions and cultures.
It might not be an easy thought for everybody, but isn’t it rather consoling how, on a cultural level, even the most disgusting events can have occasional enjoyable side effect? Disgusting events such as hostile occupations can lead to ever new breeds of ever more thrilling music!
It was a hostile Moorish occupation of the Iberian Peninsula that brought many traces of Andalusian music to the Maghreb, adding prominently to the roots from which Algerian Maurice el Médioni would so successfully develop his PianOriental style many centuries later. It was another occupation – that of American and British troops in Morocco and Algeria in 1942 – that brought jazz, boogie-woogie and rumba into the picture.
El Médioni himself brought influences of Rai to Marseille on what was anything but a hostile mission – yet, with Médioni being forced into exile along with the majority of local Jews after Algeria’s independence in 1962, the reasons for this migration were once again negative.
Maurice el Médioni, born in Oran in 1928, always made the best of it all. Starting out on the piano when he was nine, he played for the US Forces at their Red Cross Bar and teamed up with three Rai singers once the Americans had Algeria. He also played at l’Opera in Oran, where he performed with other great Jewish artists such as Lillie Boniche and Lili Labassi, but turned to tailoring when things got rough in Marseille, always keeping his temper and so being rewarded with even more artistic opportunities – like his stint in the Parisian cabaret scene that followed, not to speak of his highly-acclaimed masterpiece Descarga Oriental, the album made with Roberto Rodriguez in 2006.
This is what you hear when he tickles his ivories: all the richness of melody, all the playfulness of arrangement, all the enchanting pleasures of the Maghreb and Europe and Latin America and everywhere else in the world you could think of and beyond – to Shangri-La? And all with Arabs and Jews in intimate company!
This is a lesson you certainly don’t want to miss.
Maurice El Medioni
tel/fax +33 491 570 603
Tel: +33 549 591 010
Fax: +33 549 524 410