Shahinaz Band (Morocco): Anass Habib, Frédéric Calmès and James Serre

Moroccan sacred songs

04. 11. 2008 – Tuesday
Creative Communities’ Church, ul. Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie 22

phot. Robert Sękiewicz

About Christian Culture Festival

Christian Culture Festival was organized for the first time in 1997 on 10th Anniversary of the Logos Theatre. In a sense, it extends the idea of Christian Culture Weeks organized in Poland in 70s and 80s of the last century, which were to become counterpoise to lay media model promoted by the State. Lodz Christian Culture Days were organized in churches all around the city, so as to accommodate the artists, spectacles, exhibitions and projections.

One of such places was the John Paul lecture theatre in the vault of the Assumption of Holy Mother Church in Kościelna Street. This is where the Logos Theatre started, before it was moved to the church in Maria Skłodowska-Curie. It was this church that Archbishop Władysław Ziółek gave to the Lodz artists in 1993, and in which the Centre of Creative Communities’ of Lodz Archdiocese was appointed. It is here that the ‘logistic’ centre of the Festival is located, and where some of the Festival events take place.

Traditionally, the Festival takes place in November, on the first Sunday after All Soul’s Day. It usually lasts for two weeks, during which various event take place – spectacle premiers, other theatres come to Lodz, there are exhibitions of invited artists, performances of choirs and musicians, very often not to be seen anywhere else in Poland at any other time. The Festival programme is the result of the whole year’s work of rev. Waldemar Sondka, the Festival Director, who – using his contacts – invites artists who are interesting, out of the ordinary, noteworthy and creating art perhaps not always religious, but always searching and at the highest level. Care for the level of the Festival offers is a permanent rule, the Logos environment has always wished to provide the Lodz citizens with the possibility of contact with art deprived of parochialism, open to the man and as perfect formally as possible.

The Festival is not an activity that brings profit. Any entrance cards are issued as invitations that are free of charge, and the team of the Logos Theatre and all the people engaged in the Festival organization, act as volunteers. This does not mean that Christian Culture Festival costs nothing. On the contrary, to organize such a cultural event at appropriate level is always connected with costs. Rev. Waldemar Sondka deals with organizing means to secure the Festival events all year round. He manages to gain sponsors (without whom the Festival would not exist) and subsidies from institutions that deal with funding culture (without which the Festival could not develop). All that in order to realize the basic idea of the event that derived from the Lodz Christian Culture Days – to enable anyone who wishes and needs that, to live the Mystery through art. This idea assumes a free of charge participation in all the artistic events, which has been the case since the very beginning of the Festival until today, the only condition is that on the day of the Festival opening, one must queue as long as it takes to get invitations. The only limit to the number of invitations is the capacity of rooms in which the events are organized every day throughout the two weeks of the Festival.



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Shahinaz — program for the concert

1st part:
Musical introduction(samaii turk)
Ayuha Saqi(andalousian song muwashah)
Skaba(islamic traditional song from Syria)

2nd part:
Aramaic,greek and arabic songs from old churches from Lebanon:
Moran etraham alayn(grace of the Lord)
Tishbohtu(Glory to God)

3rd part:
Sephardic melodies in Spanish and Arabic
Una matica de ruda
La rosa enflorese
the ending
Muwashah lamma bada yatathanna


The name of the band comes from the style of Arab music. Shahinaz consists of two identical melodic scales that are mirroring each other. The style is a reflection of cultures and religions. It also includes the Mediterranean Sea from the north to the south, from the east to the west, places in which Islam, Christianity and Judaism created a great history of humanity, described in the book ‘Nas el Kutub’. James Serre playing flute, Frédéric Calmès playing lute and Anass Habib playing drums and the soloist, who take the listeners for a trip round Spain, through to Iran, from Christian Syria through to Egypt. Shahinaz are made by the three musicians, travelers, who have worked together from April 2007 in Fez, the city in which the Muslims, Christians and the Jews live in peace.

Anass Habib

Family name and surname: Anass Azami Hassani. Born in 1980 in Fez (Morocco). He is the youngest of the many siblings he has. As a 5-year old he sang the classical Arab songs, and at the age of 12 gave his first solo concert. During his two-year stay in Syria, he mastered his singing under the supervision of such people as: Saïd Qoteb (Damascus), Safouan Abed et Ahmed Kaddah (Aleppo). He has given over 100 concerts in his career in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Tunisia. In Morocco he took part in many concerts in various cities, he also participated in Sacred Music Festival in Fez Hadara and Dar Tazi (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006).

He also took part in many concerts for the citizens of Palestine and Iraq. Annas Habib is also considered one of the most beautiful male voices in the Arab world. You can take pleasure in his singing even though you don’t understand the language and the classic Arab singing. His repertoire includes such sings as those written by Fairuz from the Lebanon, Oum Kaltoum from Egypt, or other Arab artists, e.g. Sabah Fakhry or Marcel Khalife. His repertoire also includes poems, Christian Christmas songs, medieval Jewish songs from Andalusia. He sings not only in Arab. He also sings in Syrian, French, English, Spanish and Greek. He has recorded many records and sang live for the Moroccan radio stations and TV channels, both as a soloist and with the band that he has founded.

James Serre

During his studies, his professor of philosophy revealed him the music and the dance of the whirling dervishes and Djallal Ed Din Roumi's philosophy, the writer and the Sufi poet of the XIII century, then the classical Ottoman music and the Arabic culture. The discovery strengthened during its journeys in Spain (Andalusia) then in Morocco, in Turkey and in Tunisia where he studied the typical traditional flute of this music, The Ney. At first in France with a master of the Classical Ottoman Music, Kudsi Erguner, then in Istanbul with the school of Niyazi Sayin. In Crete and in Greece during master classes of Ross Daly. He also studies the Egyptian and Syrian classic directories (Wasla & Nahda) and some Arabian-Andalusia details in Tunisia and Fez in Morocco. In Morocco, he become one of the members of the Foundation Spirit of Fez, and to assist the programming of the festival of the Sacred Musics of the World in Fez. This fascinating experience allowed him to enrich its knowledge of the traditional music and to acquire an experience in the organisation of the alive entertainment. From his return in France, he works on the elaboration of a musical academy through his festival “The Song of the Sun”. Created in Paris, it gives for objective to promote and to protect the traditional musics of the Mediterranean by means of educational workshops, lectures, and of concerts. Meanwhile, he still tries to develop new musical genres by interpreting, with his instrument, subjects of Jazz with others musicians to create a bridge between the cultures. His discovery of the dance is the fruit of a meeting with a professor of the classic school, Magali Marshall, who taught him her knowledge of the art of the classical dance. Six years later, he gained the contemporary dance of the daily training of the Glass Menagerie in Paris and accompanied the choreographers as musician and dancer.

Frédéric Calmès

Studiem oriental music in Lyon (France) with Marc Loopuyt. He plays the lute „ud” and i salso an anthropologist. For the last 6 years he has been living in Fez (Morocco), where he is completing his knowledge in music and linguistics, and also works in „Hamadcha sufi” association, to which he belongs as a musician. Together with „Shahinaz” he studies the music of the Mediterranean Sea.