Alain PIERRE / Fawzi CHEKILI Belgo-Tunisian Acoustic Jazz Group
For a couple of years, the Arabian and Mediterranean Music Centre of Tunisia, wanted to elaborate a musical project bringing Tunisian and European cultures closer together.
The Arabian and Mediterranean Music Centre is the partner of Sowarex (a Belgian phonographic production company) which throughout the framework agreement binds the Tunisian Ministry of Culture and the French-speaking community of Belgium. Of course, Sowarex, and the General Commissariat for International Relations of the French-speaking community of Belgium have favourably accepted this project.
At the same time, the organisers of the Video Festival of Liège decided to welcome Tunisia as the guest of honour at the next edition of the festival (March 2000). This festival has the ambition to open itself up to different styles of artistic expression of which music.
Alain Pierre, a guitarist from Liège, who has already been produced in Tunisia, showed interest to become this Belgian partner.
On the Tunisian side the guitarist Fawzi Chekili from Tunisia was chosen. This musician, together with Anouar Brahem, embodies today the renewal of Tunisian instrumental music.
Finally, the project of the common creation of Belgian-Tunisian jazz has been held back and registered.
Alain Pierre, while performing in Tunisia in June 1999, met Fawzi Chekili.
A meeting during which the two artists have discovered each other mutually throughout their compositions and their respective approaches.
They get along very well.
Very rapidly the musicians realised the reality of their mutual contribution: Alain Pierre being captivated by the melodic and rhythmic characteristics of the Tunisian music expressed by Fawzki Chekili. He, on the other hand, was sensible to the work approach of the musical harmony of Alain Pierre.
But the project needed to be enriched. Of course, everyone had quickly seen that the formula of the quartet was ideal: not too heavy, not too light.
Besides these two musicians who play acoustical guitar, Steve Houben was chosen to represent the Belgian side. He is already known for his eclectic music and had also played with both of the two musicians before. On the Tunisian side Hichem Badrani was chosen (Ney, reed flute) known by Steve Houben and with whom Fawzi Chekili regularly plays.
The Anfass project was born.
In Arabic Anfass means breaths.
To take up through a musical creation the inherent particularities in each of the two musical expressions was the obvious objective of the two musicians. This essential goal will be translated in two original compositions made by Alain Pierre and Fawzi Chekili, underlining the particularities of each musician.
That they be common or individual, the compositions of Alain and Fawzi integrate the rhythmic and melodic particularities of Tunisian music and the particularities of the European harmony to end in a unique musical creation. Unique of its kind and of its interpretation.
It is also the first world meeting between the ney and the flute.
This project is an original creation, accessible to a large audience and susceptible of making people sensible. People, who are curious to discover new means of expression.
A very particular interest has guided these musicians in an elaboration of this project: the importance of the human aspect in the creation and the respect of identities of each in their writings, the interpretation and development of this musical project, the ultimate goal being a skilful mix and proportioning of personal cultural realities, more than to realise a rude, superficial and thus necessarily reducing brazing.
Anfass gave its first four concerts in Tunisia from the 24th till the 27th of November 1999 at the Arabian and Mediterranean Music Centre in Sidi Bou Saïd (Tunis).
They received a more than favourable welcoming from the press, from the nightly increasing audience and also from the musicians (Anouar Brahem, Dhafer Youssef, just to name a few).