Sunday, September 23, 2018

Provisional Programme of the Fez Festival of Sufi Culture

Fes Festival of Sufi Culture - Provisional programmeProgramme prévisionnel : ce programme peut être sujet à modifications

Samedi 20 Octobre 2018
Ouverture officielle du Festival suivie d’une création artistique : « Odes aux femmes mystiques »
Avec : Bahaa Ronda, Carole Latifa, Leili Anvar, Françoise Atlan, les femmes de Chefchaoun

Dimanche 21 Octobre 2018
10h – 12h: Table ronde : « Le Soufisme : un paradigme de civilisation »
15h- 17h : Table ronde : « Le Soufisme au féminin »
20h :Tariqa Boutchichiya

Lundi 22 Octobre 2018
10h – 12h: Table ronde: El Andalous : un creuset de rencontres mystiques, l’influence d’Ibn Abbad
15h- 17h : Table ronde : « La Tijaniya et l’Islam africain »
20h-20h45 : Première partie concert : « Leili Anvar : Récital mystique et poétique »
21h15 : Tariqa Sqalliya

Mardi 23 Octobre 2018
10h – 12h : Table ronde: « Les hauts lieux du Soufisme »
15h- 17h : Table ronde : « Penser le spirituel »
20h-20h45 : Première partie concert :
21h15 :Tariqa Sharqawiya

Mercredi 24 Octobre 2018
10h – 12h: Table ronde : « Soufisme et Art contemporain »
15h- 17h : Table ronde :« Ibn Abbad Ar-Roundi et le modèle de la spiritualité maroco-andalouse »
20h00 :Tariqa Rissouniya

Jeudi 25 Octobre 2018
10h – 12h : Table ronde : « Les mausolées de Tambouctou »
15h- 17h : « Soufi Mon Amour » avec: Hassan El Jaî et Haroun
20h : Tariqa Wazzaniya

Vendredi 26 Octobre 2018
10h – 12h : Table ronde : Le Soufisme aujourd’hui : vers la création d’un patrimoine culturel vivant
15h- 17h : Table ronde : «Soufisme et coaching: le Soufisme au cœur de l’action »
20h : Concert : « Ensemble Al Firdaus de Grenade – Ali Keeler et Marouane Hajji»

Samedi 27 Octobre 2018
10h – 12h : Table ronde : Synthèse des tables rondes
20h00 :Derviches et chants spirituels du Châm


Friday, September 21, 2018

Trump Advises Spain on Stopping Migrants

Just when you think the world couldn't get any weirder, the online news site L'Observateur reports on President Trump's incredible advice to the Spanish on how to stop illegal migrants

US President Donald Trump recently suggested to Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell that Spain should building a "wall along the Sahara" to curb illegal immigration.

However, Josep Borrell was not convinced and told a public luncheon in  Madrid this week,"Closing ports is not a solution and building a wall along the Sahara, as President Trump recently suggested to me, is not a solution either".

The former president of the European Parliament went on to say that the US president had told him "make a wall along the Sahara".

"But do you know how big the Sahara is?" the Spanish minister said in response to Trump.

The wall that Donald Trump wants to build on the Mexican border to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants in the United States would measure him 3,200 kilometres and would cost up to 20 billion dollars (17 billion euros), according to some estimates.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Achoura - Sunni festivities and Shiite commemoration

The 10th of Muharram, the first month of the year of the Hegira, is a day of celebration among Moroccan families. Dried fruits, toys and new clothes for children are part of  Achoura. For young people and at dusk, it is also an opportunity to light a fire, dance and sing.

Ashura is considered in several countries, particularly in the Middle East where the Shiite community is strongly present, as a day of sadness. Indeed, the day of Ashura is for the Shiites an occasion for the commemoration of the massacre of Imam Al-Hussein, son of Ali ibn Abi Talib and his family in Karbala in Iraq in 680.

In Morocco, the commemoration of Al Hussein's death boils down to certain songs of a religious nature, but it is above all synonymous with joy and celebration. In addition, Moroccan families buy dates, dried fruits and sweets for visitors, family members, neighbours and especially children.

Achoura is also an opportunity to receive gifts and toys: water pistols, Moroccan musical instruments such as "Bendir", a drum on a frame with fingers or "Taarija", a smaller version of the darbouka, also called doumbek and which is a single-headed drum.

When night falls, Moroccans light a fire and gather around, singing special Achoura songs.

In southern Morocco, some people do not cook and wear black on the tenth day of Muharram. Some of them light a fire while others wet their clothes with water to commemorate the fact that Al-Hussein died while being thirsty. Achoura marks a painful incident that Moroccans have resumed with different forms of celebration. It's an essential part of the culture


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Exhibition by Jess Stephens in October


Moulay Yacob Thermalia Spa Hotel Opens

The new Vichy Thermalia Spa Hotel was opened last night at Moulay Yacob, 21 kilometres from Fez - Suzanna Clarke reports for The View From Fez

Located 21 kilometres north of Fez, Moulay Yacoub has had thermal baths for centuries. With a high mineral content, they are particularly used to treat medical conditions such as rheumatism and respiratory problems.

The old spa facilities at Moulay Yacoub have been stylishly refurbished and now include a 4,000 square meter thermal center and spa, as well as a four star hotel with 100 rooms. The hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool heated to 34 degrees celcius all winter. There is also a new restaurant, Le Minéral, featuring healthy gourmet cuisine and a bar, Celestins.

Vichy General Manager Jerome Phelipeau
A cocktail party was held to celebrate the opening, and the general manager of Vichy, Jerome Phelipeau, welcomed the new hotel to the prestigious group.

Vichy Thermalia General Manager Chrisophe Roux
The manager general manager of Vichy Thermalia, Christophe Roux, says that the re-development has taken more than a year and a half, and he is delighted by the results.

For more information, CLICK HERE. 
Photos and story: Suzanna Clarke


Finnish pianist Laura Mikkola to give concert in Rabat

Laura Mikkola is the winner of several international competitions (Second Prize and Audience Award at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Belgium, First Prize and Audience Award at the International Unisa Transnet Piano Competition in Pretoria (RSA)), and in her career so far has performed more than 67 piano concertos.

After a few years in Rome, Laura Mikkola and her family settled in Paris where she appeared as soloist with several regional and national orchestras.

Since 2003, she has become the founder and artistic director of the Musical Festival of Iitti, Finland. She has recorded for Naxos and Aeon among others, works by Mozart, Shostakovich, Rautavaara, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Saint-Saens, Matthews and Tüür.

The chamber music concert will take place on Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 7:30 pm at the Villa des Arts in Rabat. On this occasion, Laura Mikkola will perform great classics, including Chopin ballads and pieces by Sibelius and Debussy.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Through The Peacock Gate Now Available In Fez

Good news for those readers waiting for a copy of Through The Peacock Gate. It is now available, not just on line, but from the bookshop at the American Language Center in Fez.

Through the Peacock Gate

The novel is a rare example of contemporary English fiction drawing on traditional Moroccan folklore. Written in gripping English prose fused with Arabic words, the novel gives an authentic insight into a Westerner’s experience of modern Moroccan society, whilst simultaneously exposing the reader to the country’s rich cultural history by weaving classic Moroccan folk takes and the mysteries of Sufism into its fabric. The book not only explores the point where East and West merge but the collision of the human world with the world of the djinns – mysterious shape-shifting creatures of an unseen realm.
Sandy McCutcheon’s latest novel Through the Peacock Gate is the kind of book those of us who live between Occident and Orient have waited an entire lifetime to read. The interleaving layers, the quality of the prose and, most of all, the raw bedrock of cultural knowledge on which it is founded, makes this an invaluable handbook to the mysteries and complexities of Eastern lore. Its pages conjure the mesmerizing, magical heart of secret Morocco.” - Tahir Shah, author of The Caliph's House
Ken Haley Review: Through the Peacock Gate – one of the best books to come my way this year (and I’ve notched up nearly fifty with a third of the year gone, so this is not stinting praise) – is just the book for you if that long-planned escape from an Antipodean winter to Mediterranean climes isn’t going to eventuate this year. The purchase price of getting Sandy McCutcheon’s latest novel shipped from Britain is far less than the cost of sending yourself in the opposite direction, even in the age of the discount airfare.

What’s that you say? You’re not an armchair traveller? Pity. Maybe I could interest you in a tale of spirituality in the so-called 21st century? Of how the present is haunted by the past, of how everything you see and do is not everything there is, not the half of it? Of how the wisdom of the Sufi, a sect that has fascinated and scandalised mainstream Islam for centuries, can inhabit a man transplanted from traditionally Catholic Ireland? …

All right, I can tell a choosy reader when I come across one. I see you’re not interested in romances that rhyme moon and majoun (edible cannabis – aha, now I have your attention!) any more than you revel in tales of djinns and Madonnas (living in the materialist world, as you do). If it’s the delightful tickle of lust you’re after, don’t soil your hands with the postmodern equivalent of a penny dreadful: come hither behind the latticework of traditional Moroccan houses in the medina of Fez (where paradoxically you can be high in the Middle Atlas), and not only will you find yourself entranced by a maiden worthy of Nabokov’s pen, you will find the unlikeliest devotee of the Russian-American master waiting to conduct you on a literary tour when your passion for the physical is sated.

While on passions Nabokovian, this is also a work that no lepidopterist’s library should be without.

Ah, but you don’t order books on the wing! Fair enough. Perhaps political thrillers with overtones of 20th-century revolutionary zeal are more to your taste. When painting a tantalisingly foreshadowed encounter with the Shining Path guerrilla movement in the jungles of Peru, McCutcheon’s prose is as pellucid and gripping as Greene’s (think Our Man in Havana).

Then again, if psychology’s your thing, you should dive into these pages for the sensation of losing touch with (or should that be discovering?) reality, sanity and such states so reduced to the conventional in everyday discourse that they’re taken for granted even when least understood.

Or find enough food for thought here to underwrite a philosophical banquet.

On yet another tack, if you’re looking for the last Beat novel to make it into print, this may be it – William S. Burroughs without the drugs.

Lauren Crabbe's Review: McCutcheon has penned a literary equivalent of Schrödinger’s cat, and done so with alternating wry efficiency and achingly beautiful prose that’s engaging to read as it is mind-bending to comprehend. As I’m lucky enough to be in Fez at the time of reading, it was all I could do not to take off down the Medina in the middle of the night in search of the supernatural – threat of possession by djinns be damned.

The onset of mystery is slow, veiled by a deceptively simple premise: the main character, Richard (an alias), returns to Fez to find his house (or dar) robbed and gutted. After a brief detour into the vaults of his former life, he tentatively enlists the help of a local writer, Yazami, to find the men to repair it. From there, corners of a grander plot are meticulously doled out like sips of nus-nus left to cool down. Sometimes, they take the ghostly form of A’isha, a djinniya with a curious grudge who haunts Richard’s dar. Others appear as innocently as butterflies flapping their wings (Richard is a lepidopterist) before sudden twists blow through and flatten your sense of shrewdness. All orchestrate his gradual descent into madness – an intimidating portrayal, masterfully executed.

Through The Peacock Gate is available at the American Language Center Bookshop in Fez.
Amazon (USA,AUST,UK)
Beacon Books (Publisher) UK