“Ray Charles: the Genius” Lecture by John Edward Hasse

“Ray Charles: the Genius”
Lecture by John Edward Hasse
Monday, September 18 at 6 PM
ALIF Villa Residence, 28 Rue Mohammed Diouri

Ray Charles overcame racism, poverty, and blindness to gain worldwide acclaim as a singer, songwriter, pianist, and arranger. As a lad, he had ears like a sonic sponge, absorbing everything from blues to country & western music. Infusing rhythm and blues with the fervor of down-home gospel music, he helped pioneer the genre called “soul music.” His unique voice and passionate style made him one of the most beloved musicians of our time. With his genius for fusing gospel, rhythm and blues, soul, blues, jazz, country, rock, and pop, Charles became one of the most innovative and influential talents in American music. He wrote such enduring songs as Hallelujah, I Love Her So and What’d I Say, and made every other song his own—popular standards (Georgia On My Mind; Baby, It’s Cold Outside), rock hits (Eleanor Rigby), crossover country songs (You Are My Sunshine; I Can’t Stop Loving You), and a stirring interpretation of America the Beautiful. Music curator John Edward Hasse tells about acquiring Ray Charles’s Ray-Bans and Braille keyboard for the Smithsonian. And Hasse illuminates Ray Charles’s unique life story and illustrates—with analysis, anecdotes, photos, and video clips—his enduring contributions to American culture.

John Edward Hasse is a museum curator, author, speaker, and leader in his field. For 33 years, he served as Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where he curated exhibitions on Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Ray Charles, and founded the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and Jazz Appreciation Month, now celebrated in all 50 states and in 40 countries. He is former Chairman of Smithsonian Music. He is author of an acclaimed biography, Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington, with a Foreword by Wynton Marsalis, and editor of Jazz: The First Century, with Forewords by Quincy Jones and Tony Bennett. Hasse is co-author of Discover Jazz and co-producer of Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology. He is a contributor to The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and eight encyclopedias. As an expert on 20th century American music, he has been interviewed in The New York Times, on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, PBS, CNN, BBC, and many other news outlets. Hasse also served as the principal advisor to the U.S. Postal Service on its stamp series Legends of American Music that began with Elvis Presley. He earned a B.A. Cum Laude from Carleton College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University, two Honorary Doctorates, and a Certificate in Business Administration from The Wharton School. He has received two Grammy Award nominations and two ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in writing about music. Active in cultural diplomacy for the US State Department, Hasse has lectured on leadership, the arts, and music in 20 countries on six continents.

“Cultural Encounters and Colonial Legacies: Morocco in American Writings”

ALIF Lecture Series Presents

“Cultural Encounters and Colonial Legacies: Morocco in American Writings”
A lecture by Hamid El Mountassir

Wednesday, July 12 at 6:15 p.m. In Room 30

The present lecture is an attempt to approach the dynamics/politics of cultural encounters in relation to Morocco, which has been associated with different forms of representation in the American cultural context since the beginning of the twentieth century. The depiction of the nature of this series of encounters is analyzed through a wide range of texts including travel writing, fiction, and ethnography. Writers such as Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Claude McKay, Anais Nin, Paul Bowles, Elizabeth Fernea, and Rachel Newcomb have constructed ambivalent discourses in their representation of otherness.

This lecture is open to the general public

“Ramadan Customs in Morocco”

 

“Ramadan Customs in Morocco”

A lecture by

Sadiq Raddad

at the ALIF annex

Monday, June 6th at 6:15 p.m.

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How do Moroccans observe the holy month of Ramadan? What does this month mean for them? What are its religious and social implications? How does it affect the daily routine of the society? What is the Ramadan etiquette? What code of conduct is expected of non-Muslims during this month? These are some of the issues that this lecture will attempt to address.

 

This lecture is open to the general public

“The Djinn in the Skull: Stories from Hidden Morocco”

Samantha Herron, author of “The Djinn in the Skull: Stories from Hidden Morocco”

Monday, April 18 at 7 PM at the ALIF Riad, 6 Derb Drissi, Batha

Please join us for a lecture, reading & discussion. Open to the general public.

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When author Samantha Herron visited Morocco for the first time it changed the course of her life. On her return to London she abandoned a successful art career in order to study Arabic. She went on to spend time living with a Berber/Amazigh family of former nomads in the Draa Valley on the edge of the Sahara Desert, where she immersed herself in the language, culture and traditions of the country.

Samantha comments: ‘I learned the local dialect and took classes in Arabic and the Quran with other women from the village. I travelled in the desert, learned how to take care of camels and sheep, how to ablute and pray, and helped the other women in the family with the day-to-day running of the home. I fell in love with storytelling and stories, which are at the heart of everyday life in Morocco. I began to document the stories I was hearing and then found myself imagining and composing my own.’

The Djinn in the Skull: Stories from Hidden Morocco (Soul Bay Press October 2015) is her debut collection of fictional stories set in contemporary Morocco. Her previous work includes the English and Arabic publication Dardasha: Testimonies of Migration by Moroccan Women (Soul Bay Press 2011).

After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East

Lecture / book discussion

“After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East”

Brian T. Edwards

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Monday, Dec. 7th

6:15 p.m.

ALIF Annex auditorium

22 Rue Mohamed Diouri, Ville Nouvelle

(next to ALC/ALIF)

When Henry Luce announced in 1941 that we were living in the “American century,” he believed that the international popularity of American culture made the world favorable to U.S. interests. Now, in the digital twenty-first century, the American century has been superseded, as American movies, music, video games, and television shows are received, understood, and transformed. How do we make sense of this shift? Building on a decade of fieldwork in Cairo, Casablanca, and Tehran, Brian T. Edwards maps new routes of cultural exchange that are innovative, accelerated, and full of diversions. Shaped by the digital revolution, these paths are entwined with the growing fragility of American “soft” power. They indicate an era after the American century, in which popular American products and phenomena–such as comic books, teen romances, social-networking sites, and ways of expressing sexuality–are stripped of their associations with the United States and recast in very different forms.

Arguing against those who talk about a world in which American culture is merely replicated or appropriated, Edwards focuses on creative moments of uptake, in which Arabs and Iranians make something unexpected. He argues that these products do more than extend the reach of the original. They reflect a world in which culture endlessly circulates and gathers new meanings.

ABOUT THE LECTURER / AUTHOR

Brian T. Edwards is Crown Professor in Middle East Studies and professor of English and comparative literary studies at Northwestern University, where he is also the founding director of the Program in Middle East and North African Studies. He is the author of Morocco Bound: Disorienting America’s Maghreb, from Casablanca to the Marrakech Express and a coeditor of Globalizing American Studies. His articles have been published in the Believer, Public Culture, the Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere.

This lecture is open to the general public