The musical tradition of Sicily has absorbed suggestions coming from Arabic, Byzantine, Provençal and Normand expressions: it still preserves cultural habits of all of them together with its native elements.
When one considers the musical abundance of medieval Sicily, it is natural to examine the epoch of mighty Frederick II (1194-1250) and the great stimulus his reign gave the sciences and arts. The Sicily of Frederick's time incorporated both tolerance and intellectual ferment. This was accomplished by both the lively and progressive scientific and philosophical climate left by the Arab community after the Norman Conquest and by the refined and invaluable literary works written by the residents of the court. Frederick II was the natural point of reference of all this.
In each muical project Al Qantarah restores the sound of this multi-ethnic medieval Sicily with vocal and instrumental music belonging to both sacred and secular repertoire or coming from both genteel and popular tradition and the group often draw on its aesthethic taste. The instruments openly confirm this: in keeping with the multi-ethnic repertoire, Al Qantarah
uses copies of "learned Middle Ages” intruments beside instruments coming from Sicilian, Arabic and Persian tradition.
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