There was a large crowd of Sufi Festival attendees and local residents.at the Batha Museum in Fez tonight for the first of the Sufi brotherhood evenings held during the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture. Helen Ranger was there for The View from Fez.
Moroccan hospitality on display for visitors
The Boutchichiyya Brotherhood are from the small town of Mardagh, near Berkane, in north-eastern Morocco. Mardagh is an important pilgrimage destination. The sheikh is Sidi Hamza el Qadiri el Boutchichi and the brotherhood is active in many countries, particularly in the UK.
Faouzi Skali introduces the Brotherhood
As Faouzi Skali explained, the evening was one of community prayer, not a performance. Some 20 members of the brotherhood sat in a semi-circle and sang spiritual songs (sama'a). After the initial prayers the tempo was raised and the fine voices of the Brotherhood filled the concert space.
The evening was especially moving for devotees
The warm Fez evening itself produced some special magic - a full moon, owls flying overhead and "Aisha", the fesival cat, making her second appearance during the festival.
Monday 18 April at the Batha Museum:
10am Round table: Writing on the Path: Isabelle Eberhardt and Eva de Vitray Meyerovitch, with Marie Odile Huleu-Delacour, Jean Rene Huleu, Saad Khiari, Jean-Pierre Montagne and Amal Arfaoui.
4pm Conference: The Female Teachers of Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi, with Jane Clark and Nick Pearson.
8.30: Evening of Sama'a: Khalwatiyya Brotherhood from Turkey
Aisha - the Festival cat