Yacine Boularès’ A Night in Tunisia

Yacine Boularès’ A Night in Tunisia

Oct 15, 2022

ArtYard and the Frenchtown Bookshop are excited to announce that a rare collaboration of Tunisia’s best-known musicians led by Yacine Boularès will appear in concert on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at ArtYard’s McDonnell Theater.

“A Night in Tunisia” is a musical journey from the shores of Carthage to the port of New Orleans, by way of West Africa where the rhythms of African-American jazz were born. In this new creation, band leader Boularès brings together a supergroup of Tunisian artists across indigenous and contemporary musical styles for an energetic and celebratory exploration of the continuum of North African and African American music.

“A Night in Tunisia” takes its name from the Dizzy Gillespie standard, “Night in Tunisia.” That song, however, is not based on Tunisian musical styles. For that reason, the Tunis Opera commissioned Boularès, a French-Tunisian composer and saxophonist, to create this new project: An evening re-imaging the Dizzy Gillespie song using the harmonies and melodies of jazz, soul, and funk meeting the pulse and soul of Tunisian rhythms.

The evening is a poetic odyssey that celebrates life and the incandescent fury to dance, vibrate, and live to the rhythm of the music. At the forefront of the stage, singer Nessrine Jabeur shares the mic and her poetry with rapper Mehdi WMD, joined by traditional Tunisian percussion, drums, bass, piano/keyboard, guitar, and loutar, with Boularès on saxophones.

Masks are required for this performance.

The concert is part of the opening season of programming at the McDonnell Theater, the heart of ArtYard’s new building at 13 Front St., a welcoming communal resource and vessel channeling the power of art to unsettle, engage, bridge divides, and spark moments of arresting beauty. The 162-seat theater has state-of-the-art projection, lighting, and surround sound and will be the site of music, film screenings, dance, theatre, artist talks, and more.

Music at ArtYard is curated by Scott Sheldon, co-owner of the Frenchtown Bookshop and the former presenter of The Sanctuary Concerts in Chatham. Over 15 years, Scott presented more than 300 concerts, including Judy Collins, Suzanne Vega, Marc Cohn, Rosanne Cash, Jimmy Webb, the Roches, Janis Ian, Josh Ritter, and Nick Lowe.

Emily Wells is among the other upcoming performers set to take the McDonnell stage as part of the partnership.