Seffarine, whose music is inspired by flamenco, Morocco and the ancient intermingling of cultures in the Mediterranean, performs 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at The Myrna Loy in Helena.
Seffarine takes its name from the ancient metalworking souq or street market in Fes, Morocco, where lead singer Lamiae Naki, was born. The market is famous for the complex and musical rhythms that ring out from the blacksmiths’ hammers, and her family is well known as master metalworkers continuing their tradition today.
“Our music is based on a mix of different cultures that existed in Spain pre-Inquisition,” says flamenco guitarist and oud player Nat Hulskamp, who is a founding member of the group along with Naki.
“During the Moorish rule in Spain, there was a golden age of tolerance between Jewish, Muslim and Christian cultures …,” resulting in an explosion of arts, science, philosophy, learning and music.
Performing with Naki and Hulskamp will be acclaimed jazz bassist Damian Erskine and drummer and award-winning flamenco dancer Manuel Gutierrez.
They will be performing a mix of their original music, but also the traditional music that inspired it, some dating back to Moorish Spain in the 1400s.
Seffarine’s origin story has a joyous, magical quality that could someday inspire its own song.
Hulskamp recounts that he had studied oud in Morocco and met Naki on the Moroccan music scene. “The band started because on the day we met, we went out for coffee and wrote our first song and later that same day we decided to get married. The band and everything else started simultaneously.”
Bass Player Magazine writes of Seffarine: “gorgeous intersection of Spanish flamenco, Arabic and Andalusian music, Persian classical, and jazz.”
The Chicago Reader promises: “Seffarine’s music can melt the coldest hearts.”
The group’s debut album, “De Fez a Jerez,” was named one of the Top 13 African CDs of 2015 by Afribuku, an African digital magazine on arts and culture.
Tickets are $25 and are available online, at the box office at 15 N. Ewing, or by calling 406-443-0287.