Friday, March 25, 2011

A Cultural Week in Fez

It has been a big week for social events in Fez. The View from Fez was out and about in the thick of it. Our team reports:

Helene George with The View from Fez's Suzanna Clarke

The UNESCO Expert Panel on Cultural Diversity met in Rabat during the week and despite being involved in cultural affairs, our correspondent reports that the expert panel had no chance to enjoy any cultural events. Indeed, they lodged in a modern hotel rather than a riad. Determined to rectify the situation, Helene George from Australia, journeyed to Fez and stayed in a traditional Riad in the Old Medina. Thankfully, Ms George says the trip more than fulfilled her expectations. In Fez she attended a lunch with women involved with hammam (traditional bath house) restoration and preservation, and enjoyed a performance of Gnaoua music. The lunch was held at the Makhfiya Hammam.

Naima Lahbil dancing in the Hammam!
Local women at the Hammam lunch

Naima Lahbil attending the Hammam lunch

Hammams were also the focus during the week when Fez hosted  the opening of the Hammamed Exhibition at the Cherratine Medersa. There are beautiful panoramic photographs, architectural models  and aerial views of the cities of Damascus, Cairo and Fez, where hammams are being restored. The exhibition is called "Hidden Door - Living Treasure" and it runs 10am to 6pm until April 8.

ADER Director General Fouad Serrhini at the exhibition opening


Italy's Ducci Foundation hosted an evening of splendid early music at the beautiful Ducci Foundation headquarters in Fez, Kssar Annoujoum.

Kssar Annoujoum

 Guests were greeted by the founder of the Foundation, Paolo Ducci (pictured above), and then treated to a well chosen programme, performed by the Duo Girolamo Frescobaldi - Maria Palumbo (spinet) and Lorenzo Colitto (baroque violin).

The programme included two fine works by Frescobaldi (1585 - 1634) as well as the sonatas prima and secundo by Dario Castello (before 1658). However, as in any well constructed receital, the duo saved the best for last and delighted the small but discerning audience with G.A. Pandolfi Mealli's beautiful La Castella (Sonata op 3). It was a memorable performance presented by the Ducci Foundation in conjunction with the Foundation Esprit de Fes.

Maria Palumbo

Lorenzo Colitto

Other guests included Mme Danielle Mamane, the respected author and culinary expert, Faouzi Skali, Director General of the Spirit of Fez Foundation and Essaid Ben Amar Amrani, head of the Division of Cultural Affairs in Fez.

Essaid Ben Amar Amrani

Mme Danielle Mamane

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