|photo by JK Photo|
AC: Mohcine, what drew you to music? How did you become a musician?
MI: From a young age, I learned to play mandolin and the Guembri, a traditional Moroccan instrument. With time I began to discover other instruments (guitar, flute, piano, drums and percussion), as well as other international styles of music. After my baccalaureate (the French version of senior year of high school and college entry examinations), I worked as a professional musician in the hotels of Marrakech, a tourist city and my hometown. When I finished my studies and found myself in the world of professional music, I began to compose my own pieces, a few of which were very successful. It was then that I decided to become a performer and composer, when I discovered my love of the process of artistic creation.
AC: Have you encountered resistance to your work, both together and separately?
MI: For me the biggest problem was to find a place where I could rehearse.
AC: How has your attitude toward dance and performance changed over time?
MI: Musical ideas tend to multiply when combined with dance, because you have more inspiration to work with. For me, music and dance together creates a more complete environment.
AC: What have you enjoyed most about working on Identity/Identite? What were your expectations verses outcomes?
MI: Identity/Identité is my identity, my self, my country and my culture. For that reason when I started composing music for this piece, knowing it would be contemporary, I wanted to introduce traditional Moroccan styles, although I was somewhat spoiled for choice. Morocco is very rich in folklore and diverse musical styles. Eventually I acted with my feeling toward the piece and used four major styles, Gharnati from the northeast, Zayane from the central Atlass mountains, and Gnaoui which is more internationally known. The words I sing at the beginning of the show is from the Jewish-Moroccan tradition.