26 August 2008

Al-Andalus Interactive

Al Andalus et reconquistaImage via WikipediaYou may find yourself wondering what happened in Al-Andalus between the 15th and 21st centuries, but there's a rich musical history of the region from the 8th to 15th centuries on a new interactive site assembled by our friends at Afropop.org.

Al-Andalus was the Arabic name for the parts of the Iberian Peninsula ruled by Muslims at various times between 711 and 1492. After 1492, things got a little more mono-cultural as Jews were expelled by governmental edict and Muslims fled following a military defeat at Grenada.

Before that (and increasingly today), the region was multicultural and a real hotbed of musical innovation and cross-pollination. But don't take my word for it; check out the map, music, interviews, and more at

www.afropop.org/Alandalus/Alandalus.html

There is, by the way, a group called Al-Andalus (music sample) that celebrates in their oud-flamenco music this period of time that was "a unique moment in world history known as [an] outstanding model of tolerance and functioning multiculturalism."

You can hear Andalusian roots in many contemporary groups, among them Ojos de Brujo, Radio Tarifa, Lo'Jo, and of course those timeless Gipsy Kings. It's certainly worth checking out the older sounds presented in the Afropop map as well, and the ebb and flow of cultures that set the stage for these current groups.
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