JEDDAH: German band Mellow Maroc proved a big hit with their distinctive blend of reggae and soul during a concert on Thursday night (March 8) at the German consul general’s residence.
The trio — reggae artist Mellow Mark, Mohammed Reda Djender and Mohammed Raafat — have a big following in their home country, and have taken their politically charged songs protesting war and social injustice on tour around the world, performing in countries including Thailand, Cuba, Russia, Morocco, Costa Rica, Senegal, Egypt, Iraq, South Africa and Serbia.
Their performance in Jeddah was their second in Saudi Arabia, following a well-received show at the Janadriyah festival in Riyadh two years ago.
With their gentle guitar sound and soulful singing, Mellow Maroc’s music really resonated with the crowd, combining reggae and soul that evoked joyful feelings and positive vibes throughout the show.
After the show, Djender highlighted the theme of social inclusiveness promoted by the band’s music.
“We are Germans but our drummer is originally from Egypt, I'm originally from Algeria, and our singer, Mark, is a Muslim,” he said. “The thing that joins us is the philosophy of being a German. Of being an open-minded free person working for one society, for one idea called Germany of today. This is the most important juice of our discourse. This is why we see Germany as a very tolerant Country today.”
German consul general Holger Ziegeler said he has been a fan of Mellow Maroc since seeing the band in Riyadh.
“In the true spirit of the close Saudi-German relations, I relate back to two years ago in 2016, when Germany was the selected as host country for the Janadriyah festival in Riyadh,” he said. “We showed that we are not only a country of people that work hard but also a country of people who love to play and love to have fun.
“Our theme for the festival was, ‘Germany: Land of Ideas’ and one of the cultural demonstrations that we had there was the group Mellow Maroc. When I heard them I said it’s not enough to just see them in Riyadh, I need to bring them to Jeddah as well because Jeddah is a place that is also very open to culture historically, and even more so now with the cultural development of Saudi Arabia through vision 2030.”
The formal nature of the evening on Thursday was offset by the casual, laid-back ambiance of the show, as a delighted crowd of distinguished guests was treated to a memorable and heartfelt performance from the band.
“My idea of serving here in Saudi Arabia is building bridges that people can walk in both directions, from Germany to Jeddah, and from Jeddah to Germany,” said Ziegeler.