Saturday, October 18, 2014

Free Concert in Fez: Ykeda Duo

Tonight, Saturday October 18 at 7 PM, is a free concert by renowned pianists, Ykeda Duo. Their program includes Ravel, Smetana, Chabrier, Brams, Saint-Saens and Dvorak
Tamayo Ikeda is the winner of numerous international awards, including the prestigious Francis Poulenc in 1999. Together with her partner, French pianist Patrick Zygmanowski, the Ykeda Duo has become a key representative of the repertoire of four hand piano.

Having mastered Japanese, Patrick is a permanent guest professor at the College of Music in Osaka, while Tamayo has joined Patrick in his native Gironde as the joint artistic director of the Festival des Musiques in the Entre-Deux-Mers region.

They perform at major venues such as the Salle Cortot in Paris, Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Their numerous tours have taken them to Indonesia, North America, Japan, South Africa, Morocco, and Eastern Europe, where audiences “love their acrobatic feats on the keyboard, their humor, the sheer showmanship of these piano jousts, and the superhuman perfection of their performances” (Arièle Butaux).

When: Saturday October 18 at 7 PM
Where: Institute Français, Dar Batha, Fez Medina
Cost: Free

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Festival of Sufi Culture in Fez 2015

The 9th Festival of Sufi Culture will be held in Fez from April 18 - 25, 2015 

The theme of next year's Festival of Sufi Culture will be a celebration of master poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, who greatly influenced Sufism. "We are developing a rich artistic and scientific program around the theme of Rumi: the religion of love, " says festival director Faouzi Skali.

Having recently left the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, Mr Skali is in full swing organising next year's Festival of Sufi Culture and has recently travelled to Paris, Berlin, Porto and Konya to select performers and promote the festival.

Rumi was closely associated to "whirling dervishes" or Mevlevi, a major Sufi order of Islam, which he founded in the city of Konya in Turkey. Next year's Festival of Sufi Culture will include the popular whirling dervishes and ensembles of traditional music from Iran.

As well as the rich musical offerings, the forum will discuss Rumi's life and thoughts, many of which encapsulate the true values ​​of Islam: tolerance, respect, and love. Rumi's concepts are particularly relevant in today's tense geo-political climate, especially those aspiring to intercultural and religious harmony.

Next year's festival will have an increased budget of 5 million dirhams, promising an expanded event from that held in 2014.

The program will be released on

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Friday, October 17, 2014

New Initiative for the Fez Environment

UPDATE: Fez Environment Club first meeting on November 1 at 5 PM

The ALIF-ALC Environment Club will have its first meeting on Saturday, November 1 at 5 PM at ALIF Riad in the Fez Medina.

The Club is the brainchild of photographer Omar Chennafi, who wants to bring awareness to local and global environmental issues and reinforce community appreciation of the environment. "People need to take more responsibility for their environment," he says. "The Fez Medina is a mediaeval city; it's not like a new city, it has different needs. It used to be more of a self-managing system, and now that has broken down."

Meeting twice a month, the Club will operate on a project-by-project basis. It's hosted by the American Language Center, but is open to anyone interested in participating.

"The first meeting will be a good chance for newcomers to get to know the ALIF-ALC Environment Club - our vision, goals and to talk about future projects," says Omar.

Some ideas for possible activities include showing environmental films, collaborating with schools to create things like murals with a "green" theme, gardens and composting; environmentally focussed field trips; conducting waste audits and initiating recycling blitzes.

When: Saturday October 18 at 5 PM
Where: ALIF Riad,
Info: Omar Chennafi on 0659661502

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Moroccan Photo Essay: Tissa Horse Festival 2014

Our Moroccan photo essay of this year's Tissa Horse Festival is by John Horniblow, whose photographic work has been widely published, including in Time and National Geographic. He is the editor and publisher of Photojournale 

Every year in October a spectacular event is held in the small north Moroccan town of Tissa. Celebrated in remembrance of Sidi Muhammed Ben Lachen, a fifteenth century patron saint, the Tissa Horse Festival attracts hundreds of horse breeders and horse owners. They come to show off their beautifully groomed thoroughbreds, which are put through their paces in displays of remarkable horsemanship, echoing skills used in inter-tribal wars of previous centuries.

The horses that are brought here are of the finest breeding and include Arab-Berbers, Arab stallions and Barbary mares. Riders get the opportunity to display their horse’s capabilities in different events, exhibiting qualities such as grace, speed, manoeuvrability and endurance. Onlookers watch as lines of riders charge towards a fence at full belt, before pulling up suddenly and discharging their muskets.

All photos copyright John Horniblow. 

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Free Concert in Fez: Andalusian Music

Shams al Andalous are giving a free concert on Wednesday night at 7.30 at ALIF Riad

To see a clip of Shams al Andalous CLICK HERE. 

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Morocco the Third Most Welcoming Country in the World

Morocco has been ranked third in the 2013 world rankings of the most welcoming country for foreign tourists. The data comes from the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report(WEF)

Morocco World News says that in a ranking of 140 countries, Morocco is the third most welcoming towards foreign tourists.

The kingdom comes on the third position with a score of 6.7, after Iceland and New Zealand, which ranked first and second respectively.

For countries less welcoming to foreign tourists, Bolivia was rated as the world’s most unfriendly country, scoring 4.1 followed by Venezuela and Russia, with a score of 4.5 and 5.0, respectively.

Under the theme “Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth and Job Creation,” the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report shows that the Kingdom has achieved a “very good reception.”

The prestigious Geneva-based organisation assesses 140 economies worldwide based on the policies implemented by countries to develop their travel and tourism sector.

According to the WEF, the classification adopted in the indicator tends to measure the ability of countries to interact with the tastes and cultural diversity of tourists, “which is a big challenge in the era of globalisation.”

Friendly Fez locals make visiting fun
Morocco #1 in Africa

With 55.7 million international tourists’ arrivals to Africa in the past year, Morocco comes in the first rank among the top five African countries that received most of tourists, according to the ranking announced recently by the World Tourism Organisation.

With about 10 million tourist arrivals in 2013 -an increase of 6% compared to 2012- Morocco, is determined to achieve the “Vision 2020 strategy, which aims to double the number of tourists.

Thanks to its numerous assets, mainly political stability, friendly people and proximity to Europe, Morocco is “resolved to be among the world’s top 20 tourism destinations by 2020,” according to Lahcen Hadad, minister of tourism.

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