Monday, December 10, 2018

Fez - Cultural Happenings

The last few days have been busy with a number of cultural events taking place, including contemporary dance and a new music group
Left to right - Etienne Gruel, Frédéric Calmès, Faith Barker, and  Léo Fabre-Cartier, 

Gouer Ouled Chaabi is quartet of musicians who have a strong affinity with Morocco and its music. It is unusual as the group members, Etienne Gruel, Frédéric Calmès, Faith Barker, and  Léo Fabre-Cartier, are all non-Moroccans!

According to singer Faith Barker, Gouer Ouled Chaabi is a work in progress. "Fred, Leo, Etienne and I are musicians who love Moroccan music and live or have spent extended periods in Morocco. For this project we have worked together on original songs in Moroccan chaabi styles, including lyrics in darija. Some of the songs playfully talk about things we have come across while living in Morocco, eg the strange things that can happen while you travel in a grand taxi".

Faith Barker in fine voice

Saturday night's concert was the first time they had played together after a brief residence over the previous three days. But, as Faith explains, "Fred, Leo and Etienne have worked together on several storytelling shows and I’ve obviously done the same with Fred and Leo, as well as working with the Hamadcha together".

The performance was a treat, with fine vocals, mesmeric percussion and fine work from Fred and Leo. There was certainly no indication that this was the group's first concert. One highlight was a song inspired by the Hamadcha Sufi Brotherhood which had the audience swaying along and applauding loudly.

Maestro! Leo at work

Gouer Ouled Chaabi plan to continue the project with further concerts and hopefully a recording in 2019, so, watch this space!

Contemporary Dance

Friday night's performance of the 11th edition of the International Festival of Expressive Dance at Complexe Culturel Al Hourria was a delightful mix of styles. In the first section, budding ballet dancers from the Ecole des Arts Classica performed a simple series of steps under the enthusiastic eye of their parents. When the smaller dancers left the stage, the street dancers of Studio X entered, to much applause. A duet between a classical ballet dancer and a hip hop dancer was the highlight, and an unexpected treat.

The second section, with three accomplished contemporary dancers, was a more serious piece which explored perceptions of female identity.

Choreographed by Aziz El Hakim of Babylon Cult Art Association, who is also one of the organisers of the Festival, it began with a dancer fighting to get out of a mosquito net. When she eventually succeeded, hair covered her face, and she moved across the stage like a wild creature - clearly representing the primal, primitive aspect of the female psyche.

The second dancer was the extreme stereotype of sexualised femininity, strutting and rolling about the stage, smoking, in a tight red dress and ridiculously exaggerated high heels. Her personae and movements were confronting to some in the audience, who left during this section.

The last dancer wore a long white robe, covered with what appeared to be soft toys. She came across as a girl/child, trapped within a garment that confined her movements.

After changing into identical dark grey tops and lighter grey trousers, the women's movements became freer, and they explored group dynamics, with two dancers "attacking" the third. A transition followed, until they eventually all were dancing together, supporting one another.

It was a considered, reflective piece which raised some pertinent points about stereotypes of femininity versus reality - surprising and pleasing to see it in a Moroccan context.

For further information about Babylon Cult Art Association, CLICK HERE. 


Friday, December 07, 2018

Tourism in Morocco - the Latest Numbers

A total of 9.7 million tourists visited Morocco between January and October 2017, an increase of + 9% compared to the same period last year, says the Observatoire du tourisme

The number of foreign tourists has increased by 14%, while the arrivals of Moroccans living abroad (MRE) have increased by 5%, says the Observatory of Tourism which has just published its statistics on the Moroccan tourism covering the first 10 months of 2017.

This rise affected the main issuing markets, in particular Germany (14%), Holland (8%) and France (7%), according to the same source. As for emerging tourism markets for Morocco, they maintain their upward trend, with China recording a 203% increase, while Japan, South Korea, the United States and Brazil posted respective increases of 40%. %, 33%, 30% and 51%. The total nights spent in classified tourist accommodation establishments recorded a 15% increase during the first 10 months of 2017 (+ 19% for non-resident tourists and + 8% for residents).

The two tourist hubs Marrakesh and Agadir alone generated 60% of total overnight stays at the end of May, the Observatory said, noting that these two cities experienced an increase of 18% and 12%, respectively.

Other destinations also performed well, especially the cities of Fez and Tangier with respective increases of 37% and 26%. As for the occupancy rate until the end of October 2017, it reached 44%, up 4 points over the same period last year.

In addition, revenues generated by tourism activity by non-residents in Morocco amounted to MAD 59.2 billion (MMDH) at the end of October 2017, compared with MAD 56.1 billion a year earlier, an increase of 5%.


Thursday, December 06, 2018

Australian Embassy Offers New Services

As of 10 December 2018, the Australian Embassy in Rabat will start providing notarial services - but please note - by appointment only

These services are listed below. When booking the appointment, please select the relevant service that you are seeking to ensure the appropriate officer is available to provide you the service you need.

- Witnessing and taking of affidavits, oaths, or affirmations.
- Witnessing Commonwealth statutory declarations.
- Witnessing applications forms for, and issuing of, Certificates of No Impediment (CNI) to Marriage.
- Perform legalisation of signatures and/or seals through either an authentication or an apostille.
- Certify true copies of certain documents or photographs on Australian documents or documents to be used in Australia only.
- Witnessing signatures on certain documents.

It is your responsibility to obtain the correct instructions from the requesting authority for the notarial services you require from the Australian mission overseas. The Consular Officers cannot advise on other agencies' requirements.

For more information and booking service, please check our website at

Australian Embassy Morocco
28 Avenue S.A.R. Sidi Mohammed
Souissi 10105 (BP 45),
Telephone: +212 (0) 522 85 74 00


Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Fibre Optic brings speed to the Internet in the Fez Medina

Fibre Optic is now available in the Fez Medina! The View From Fez checks it out...

Fibre Optic rocks! Download speeds between 80 and 136 MBS

A few years ago the arrival of ADSL internet in the Medina was seen as something of a miracle. Now Maroc Telecom are offering hi-speed fibre optic. What is equally impressive is the speed with which the installation took place. Five days after requesting connection the technicians arrived and brought the cable up to the house and into the office.

The following day, another technician installed and tested the new modem and had it up and running in under an hour and the speeds were not too shabby.

Being used to stories of network roll-out problems with the NBN in Australia, we think Australia could learn a thing or two.


International FES DANCE Festival!

The 11th edition of the International Festival of Expressive Dance will be held from 6 to 10 December in Fez, under the theme ''Illuminations''

An initiative of the Babylon Cult Art Association, FESTIDANCE-11 will see the participation of artists and choreographic troupes from Morocco, Tunisia, Spain, France, Germany and Russia, who will give performances in different types of dance.

For this edition, the organizers have programmed an expo-dance entitled "Lettres dansantes" by Moroccan painter-calligrapher Hassan Saber, choreographic shows of contemporary dance, hip-hop, street dance and ballet, as well as workshops. dance for young talents.

On the menu is also a round table on the theme '' What future for choreography in Morocco? '', An evening dedicated to young dancers under the title '' Stepping stone towards professionalism '' and a screening of the film '' PINA '' by Wim Wenders, in tribute to German choreographer Pina Bausch.

Through this festival, its initiators aspire to contribute to the animation and the enrichment of the cultural scene of Fez, but also to offer a forum allowing the public to discover the "art of the corporal writing".

This event is seen as "a space for meetings, artistic interaction and exchange between Moroccan choreographers and their foreign counterparts, and an opportunity to look into ways that can enhance and develop traditional dances ''.

In addition to its festive aspect, this event seeks to cross a new level, in its quest for a rich documentation of the choreographic activity in all its aspects, according to the organizing association.

This 11th edition will be marked by the announcement of the creation of a database on traditional and contemporary expressive dance, in order to help professionals, dance enthusiasts and bodybuilders to deepen their knowledge and skills. develop their research in this area.

For more information
 (creation without borders)

The program

Thursday, 6 December 2018 / 18 pm
Al Houria Cultural Complex Gallery
Dance exhibitions "dancing letters"
Signed: Painter Calligrapher Hassan Saber (Morocco).
Cultural Complex Al Houria / 19 h
1ST PART: Choreographic show "Nawaat"
Contemporary dance
By Cie: Arabesque (France-Morocco)
Choreography & Dance: Bouchra bouchama - houcine oumoulid
Artistic Director: Juliette Feuerbach.
Part 2: Choreographic Show Kayen (Tunisia-Morocco-Spain)
Contemporary dance
Choreography: wajdi gagui
Intertation: Lozano, soufiane m, faouzi mrani, wajdi gagui, ahlam el morsli, chakib yam
Technique: Saber Gagui
Friday, 7 December 2018 /
District Jnane El Ouard: 15 pm: Workshop Painting & dance.
Cultural Complex Al Houria / 19 h
1ST PART: Ballet & street dance extracts
Choreography: Julia Kazakova and ayoub gara
With students from the school arts school (Russia-Morocco)
Part 2: Choreographic show "women"
Contemporary dance
Bicycle and jam (Morocco-Spain-Germany)
Choreography: ahlam el morsli
Dancers Interprètes:Ester Lozano-Yasmina Chouaib-ahlam el morsli.
Saturday, 8 December 2018
Literary Coffee the comedy
Round Table " what future for choreography in Morocco? " "
Sunday 9 December 2018 / 18 h30
Coffee the comedy
Film-Dance, projection of the pina wenders film (Germany 2011)
In Tribute to the German choreographer pina bausch.
Monday, 10 December 2018 / 19 pm
Al Houria cultural complex
1ST PART: Choreographic show "be yourself" (Morocco)
Contemporary dance
Choreography: Omar Alaoui.
Dancers: Mohamed brighet - youssef ikejidem
Elmahdi Faheem Mi-Omar Layes
Part 2: Choreographic performance at zero (Morocco)
Choreographic and interpretation: Hamid El Asmar
Guitarist: Zakaria Nafis. Performing and managing the scene: Nabil Cherradi
No. B: Dance workshops will take place: Thursday, Friday and Monday from 10 pm and; 12 pm,,,


Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Piano Concert This Saturday


Saturday, December 01, 2018

Lincoln Hotel in Casa to be renovated

The legendary Lincoln hotel of Casablanca, located in the historic centre of the economic metropolis, is scheduled to start renovation in 2019. The French group Réalités International say the cost is estimated at 150 million dirhams and the work will last two and a half years

The Lincoln Hotel on Mohammed V Avenue (then Avenue de la Gare) in Casablanca was designed in 1916 by the French architect Hubert Bride, at the time when Casablanca was a playground and experiment for Western architects, who mixed Western techniques and Moorish motifs. The Lincoln Hotel is a beautiful, majestic Art Deco building. After decolonization, fortunately, it did not suffer the same fate as many other buildings dating from the protectorate, which were destroyed in an attempt to erase the traces of the French occupation.

Over time, the hotel deteriorated and its facade blackened. In 1989 two people are killed by the collapse of part of a floor. As a result of this tragedy, the building was emptied of its occupants. A few years later a homeless man was killed in another collapse.

In 2000, the Lincoln was classified as historical heritage. Rehabilitation projects were born, including a plan by an American woman who wanted to make it a cultural centre dedicated to the inhabitants of Casablanca, but nothing happened.

Now, at last, there is some hope that the hotel will be reborn.