Mixing Tunisian music, jazz, symphonic music, and visual arts, the fieldwork in the Tunisian regions gave birth to an orchestral creation called 24 Perfumes. Inspired by the musical aromas and sensations transcribed in the palimpsest of the Tunisian musical heritage, Mohamed-Ali KAMMOUN adds to the ancient materials (themes, rhythms, and texts) a new dimension generating a sensational space-time journey. According to several critics and musicologists, the suggested writing is overwhelming and poses new conceptions in terms of arrangement and development of traditional maqam music.
The composer’s inventions are compositional (instrumental preludes, introductions, melodic hinges, instrumental responses, codas, counterpoints, etc.), harmonic (traditional maqam music is monophonic), rhythmic, formal, etc. Orchestrally, a contemporary ensemble has been devised, containing soloists from various regions and disciplines, including symphonic strings, traditional wind instruments, percussion, a jazz trio, and a chorus. The orchestra is essentially made up of young performers, who have undergone extensive preparation and whose training has been reinforced by multiple educational transfers to heritage holders.
The show was a huge success at its premiere on 17 August 2018 at the closing ceremony of the Carthage International Festival. A large tour then took place with about twenty concerts, most of them on prestigious stages (Tunis Opera, Coliseum of El Jem, Greek Theater of Hammamet, Grand Theater of Bizerte, Grand Theater of Sfax…). The 2019 tour was closed with a legendary concert on 19 September at the Olympia in Paris to a full house, organized by Aryason.
A visual creation by graphic designer Raouf Karray embellishes the show with projections of visual scents composed throughout the journey in the Tunisian regions. A choreography by Oumaima Mannai is also on the program for each concert, inspired by traditional dances.