Berklee Visits Morocco For Nine-Day Cultural Exchange

Nick Balkin
December 3, 2013
Press release
Winnie Dahlgren

A team from Berklee College of Music led by two Morocco natives, recent graduate Remy Foussard and current student Omar El Jamali, and their teacher, faculty vibraphonist Winnie Dahlgren, will travel to Morocco for a nine-day cultural exchange with Moroccan musicians January 3-12, 2014. 

Starting with three days in Essaouira, the mystical port city where Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger found inspiration the 1960s, the Berklee group will be exposed to traditional Moroccan sounds while exploring the percussive trance of Gnaoua music. In Rabat, Morocco's capital, they'll work with underserved students at Mazaya, an education program affiliated with the Moroccan Philharmonic Orchestra. In Casablanca, Dahlgren and her sextet will collaborate with musicians at Sidi Belyout Music Conservatory, CODA, a new music school and recording facility, and the L'Boultek music complex. 

At the conclusion of the trip, the college will award a Berklee Online scholarship to the most promising Moroccan musician they encounter over the course of the visit. 

The trip, titled No Boundaries: Morocco, was organized by Foussard and El Jamali to forge a stronger connection between Berklee and Morocco. It is an extension of Dahlgren's No Boundaries initiative, which brought Berklee faculty to Mozambique for clinics and performances in 2007 and 2011. 

Foussard grew up in Casablanca studying piano with his grandmother, Nicole Foussard, who was notorious for her rigorous teaching methods. He later shifted to the electric guitar and started playing in local rock bands. While at Berklee he interned with BMG Chrysalis and worked as an assistant with producer/songwriter Jonathan Keyes. He graduated from Berklee in 2013 with a dual major in performance and professional music and is beginning his career in New York City. 

Omar El Jamali spent most of his adolescence playing guitar and singing in rock bands, but it wasn't until he came to Berklee that he found his true calling in the piano. A film scoring major and conducting minor, he has developed skills as an arranger and orchestrator on a wide variety of projects. 

A native of Denmark, Winnie Dahlgren graduated from Berklee in 1997 and began teaching at her alma mater in 2001. A vibraphonist who has toured in Europe, Africa, and the U.S., she has performed with George Garzone, Joe Lovano, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, and others. The Winnie Dahlgren Sextet includes trombonist Jeff Galindo, guitarist Steven Kirby, bassist Winston Maccow, percussionist Eguie Castrillo, and drummer and engineer Pablo Bencid.