The second of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music Sufi Nights at Dar Tazi featured the Tariqa Sharqawiyya. Philip Murphy reports.
The tariqa (Sufi order) Sharqawiyya traces its lineage back to Muhammad Ibn Abi al-Qasim ash-Sharqi (d. 1601). It is one of the many branches of Shadhili/Jazuli Sufism in Morocco, which goes back to the 13th century.
The Sharqawiyya are based in Boujad in the Atlas Mountains and their version of samā` or Sufi chant is very different from the Andalusian and Fassi style of the tariqa Skalliyya. Both the text and the melodies used by the Sharqawiyya are short and repetitive, with less emphasis on melodic development and more emphasis on rhythmic drive.
After opening prayers, the group immediately picked up the tempo and started chanting “la ilaha illa Allah” (there is no God but God). A square wooden box, which one member beat with his hands, accompanied the rhythmic chanting. The amplified box produced a low, muted sound and the player produced rhythms that matched the chants.
Although the group quickly got into some rhythmic and energised material, the crowd was slightly subdued at first. Eventually more people, both locals and visitors filtered in and the energy level rose. As the night went on the tempo increased and the chanting became louder causing both the group and the audience to sway back and forth, locked into the rhythms of the subtle percussion and repetitive chants to God.
Story and photographs: Phil Murphy
The Sufi Nights continue tonight 23.00 @ Dar Tazi – free entry
Tonight: Hamdouchia Brotherhood (the Hamadcha)
The Sufi Night reviews
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Art during the Festival #2
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