Friday, February 03, 2012

Fes Festival 2012 - Nights in the Medina - Part One

One of the great innovations by the organisers of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music began in 2010 with "a night in the Medina". The idea was to take the audience away from the usual evening venue at the beautiful Bab Al Makina and plunge them into the Fez Medina. It worked superbly. Indeed, that first year's "Night in the Medina" was so successful that 2011 saw two such evenings. Now there are to be three Medina nights - June 11,12 & 13. Today we profile the first of these nights.

As we have pointed out in the past, it takes careful planning as you won't be able to get to see everything, but attending two or three of the concerts is possible. The medina is not too easy to negotiate if you don't know your way around, so during the festival we will post some maps to help you.

The Venues 

 Riad Mokri is in Oued Souaffine and is used as a training school for architectural artisans. It has one of the most beautiful gardens in the Medina. From Tala'a Sghira, turn into Sidi Mohamed Belhaj and follow the street until you reach a small square with a mosque. Take the left-hand street after the mosque (not the turning before the mosque), walk past Riad Alkantara and take the next turning to the left. Riad Mokri is in front of you; the school's sign is prominent and reads OFPTT.

Dar Adiyel is an 18th century former house of government, now used as a music conservatory for the Academy of Andalusian classical music. From Tala'a Sghira, follow twisty Derb Errom until you come to a wide square with a large wall fountain (Oued Rchacha). Diagonally opposite are some steps - walk up these and the conservatory is on your left a little further on.

The Batha Museum is the venue for afternoon concerts at the Festival and is easy to find near the Batha Hotel.

 The First Night in the Medina 

Dar Mokri - 8.00 pm and10.00 pm
Vahdat sisters - Iran
The Vahdat sisters, Mahsa and Marjan, from Iran, will present mystical poems with Pasha Hanjani playing the ney.
« J'ai dévoyé le cœur de Hâfez avec tambourin, harpe et chant de ghazal. Ma rétribution, moi l'infâme, voyons ce qu'elle sera ! » - Hâfez
Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat
The sisters, Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat, belong to a new generation of musicians; university educated and totally dedicated to the cause of art, expressing the continuity of a tradition while facing the problem of identity in modern Iran. Ancient miniatures and antique paintings show that women in Persia have performed both in court and in public life. Though, "âvâz" was music more for men and showcasing classical poems, the tasnif, repertoire of songs is more commonly performed by men and women.

Persian music in its ability to constantly regenerate itself is part of a unique phenomenon in the East. More than being faithful to a pure historical transmission, it favors an authenticity of emotion. Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat bring graceful and proud Persian poetry to new and open spaces.

Their voices are accompanied by the ney (literally "reed") - an end-blown flute that figures prominently in Middle Eastern music. The typical Persian ney is held with two hands and has 6 holes, one of which is on the back. It is said that the ney is inhabited by the breath of dervishes and Sufi mystics, reflecting the spiritual inspiration of this music and following the flights of the sister's voices as if seeking the "sound of the wind" evoked by the great Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad (1935-1967).

Batha Museum 10.00 pm
Mory Djely Kouyaté and Jean-Philippe Rykiel - France-Guinea

Take a trip along the Tinkiso river in Guinea in West Africa! Tinkiso is the name of the latest album by Guinean griot (storyteller) Mory Djely Kouyaté and pianist Jean-Philippe Rykiel.
Mory Djely Kouyaté, is a Mandingo griot from Conakry, with a trademark deep voice, that conveys grave and broken emotions. His vocal intensity portrays the dramatic forces of nature and suffering of exodus.

Jean-Philippe Rykiel, is pianist who has adopted African influences. He is a follower of both the electronic explorations of Pierre Henry and the bebop of Thelonious Monk.  Jean-Philippe has played alongside Lokua Kanza, Salif Keita, Papa Wemba, Youssou N ' Dour and the Super Rail Band. Jean-Philippe Rykiel, in his intelligent and melodic style of play, amplifies Mory Djely Kouyaté's feeling of nostalgia, which seem to summarise the entire history of West African music.

Batha Museum - 8.00pm
Taraf de Haidouks - Romania
The famous Romanian Roma (gypsy) lautaris (bards, poets and musicians) from the village of Clejani.

Early this century, there were about fifty Roma groups in Romania. They usually formed around particular crafts or activities. For example, Kêlderas were boilermakers, Custuraris, tinsmiths, Arjintaris toy manufacturers, the Laiashs blacksmiths, shoemakers Ciubotaris the  Blidaris manufacturers of kitchenware. These lautaris are the remaining repositories of a long Roma musical tradition.

Today in Romania, lautaris are mostly professional gypsy (tigani) musicians. Some villages are renowned for their community such as the village of Clejani in Wallachia, thirty kilometers from Bucharest. The Taraf de Haiduk are one of the most famous groups and have been touring European festivals for more than twenty years.

Dar Adyel 9.00 pm.10.30pm:
Ihsan Rmiki - Morocco The Art of Al Andalus Mouwachahates

The performances of this great traditional singer of Samaa and Madih have been described as "wine to drink for a soul in search of ecstasy". She owes her musical knowledge to the teaching she received in the conservatories of El Qasr Al-Kabir in the north of Morocco and in Marrakesh.

"In the streets of Ksar el Kebir, there was the riad of my childhood, in which grew up all my passions. Around that central fountain, orange trees, jasmine scented hallways, taming the sun and sheltering stray birds. I remember all those mornings ... their songs were the beginning of my days, I pushed a huge wooden door carved with arabesques and strolled inside of the riad. It is the poetry of those small moments that I sing today poems. ... "
Ihsan Rmiki loves singing mouwachahates Al Andalus, an Arabic musical tradition that evokes the mythical cities of the East: Aleppo, Damascus and Cairo. His inspiration is inhabited by the "Bustan" - the garden symbol of Arab-Andalusia.

In Morocco, the garden has a secular history that begins in the twelfth century and has its roots in the Persian Islamic tradition. At once sensual and mystical, the Arab-Andalusian garden, often jealously guarded by walls that cut off the noises of the world and abrasive intrusions of the sun, seems to want to echo a vision of paradise.



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