Friday, February 22, 2013

Pattii Smith at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

"Nous avons le plaisir d'annoncer que nous recevrons Patti Smith le Samedi 15 Juin à Bab Al Makina" - Fes Festival

The news that Patti Smith will be the final performer at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in 2013 came as a bombshell, or as one wit put it, "a bliss-bomb"! The brave, "left-field" choice by the organisers provoked an immediate and positive reaction on social media and news sites. The View from Fez has been taking a look at the public response.

Throughout the Medina of Fez the reactions ranged from surprise to delight. As many people pointed out, over the years the Fes Festival has presented some performers who raised eyebrows when they were announced but then went on to give concerts that were extremely popular. The classic example was Ben Harper, who in 2011 many questioned, saying he was not "spiritual" - however his concert was a triumph of power and sensitivity. Another was Joan Baez, in 2012,  who again confounded the critics who said she was a bit old-fashioned and her music was "just folk music". Her concert was a high-adrenalin spiritual boost that totally captivated the audience. Bjork, was more questionable, dividing the audience - but mostly along generational lines. 

So, how will Punk rock's poet laureate be received in Fes?  Her ability as a poet is unquestionable, but at 65 years of age, can the "queen of punk" put together a set that will rock Bab Makina?

"Heck, she could recite the menu from a Chinese restaurant and it would still come across as genius" - music reviewer Jim Harrington 
The general consensus is that she will have no problem at all. Her literary nods to French poet Arthur Rimbaud, will go down well, but most importantly Patti Smith has (unlike Bjork) a real gift for chatting with the audience and bringing them closer to her. As Jim Harrington wrote last year in the Oakland Tribune "Heck, she could recite the menu from a Chinese restaurant and it would still come across as genius".

Her latest studio album, Banga, her 11th,  may not be one of her greatest, but in performance Patti Smith is raw power hitched to a literary wagon.  And much of her older music will be fammiliar. Songs like Distant Fingers from the Radio Ethiopia album, or Gloria, Because the Night, and People Have the Power are all tracks that would go down well in Fez. Another song that it is hoped she will include in her set list is her version of Lou Reed's Pale Blue Eyes

In the end the Fes Festival audience can expect - power, poetry and Patti. That has to be perfect.

Big names at Fes Festival - Paco de Lucia and Patti Smith

In the Fez Medina, the guesthouse owners and tourism operators were extremely pleased that Patti Smith will be performing at the Festival. Although accommodation bookings are already filling up for the Festival, this year's strong program of concerts is a real positive for tourism. Patti Smith is, as one tourism agency spokeswoman said, "fabulous icing on an already great cake".

Vanessa Bonnin (Dar Roumana) was also thrilled and, as she told The View from Fez, "Wild Horses couldn't drag me away from this concert!". 

Fred Sola (Riad Laaroussa) is also thrilled Patti smith is on the bill, but with one proviso "... as long as she sings Frederick. This song it is awesome! I have known since forever".

From Dar Mystere, Michael told said, "As a committed original punk rocker of the late 70s, Patti Smith, as a choice of headline artist for the ever adventurous Fez Festival of Sacred Music, vindicates the adoration amongst my colleagues and myself at that time for her classic track 'Because The Night' and seminal album 'Horses'. A truly timeless artist, as relevant today as she was back then. An inspired booking, can't wait!"

Sue Bail from Riad Rcif was ecstatic:  "The programming of the sacred music festival is so inspired and courageous, it never ceases to amaze. Faouzi Skali has expanded the definition of sacred, inviting a wider audience to enjoy and experience each year. Tabakal alik!"

On Facebook

Louis Mcintosh:  I consider this a brilliant booking for one of the most important punk/poet/artists who also is searingly soulful and honest in all her artististic endeavours. Encapsulates the spirit of the Fes festival whist being a forward thinking leftfield choice from the organisers.
Valerie Horlick: Patti Smith? Is this for the Festival of Sacred Music? She is more poet than musician, in the Beat style.
Drew Cummings: Patti Smith playing the festival makes it officially cool!
Bob Wisdom:  Inspired, brilliant, she is beyond any genre and has lived and seen many things ...which raises her work at this stage of life to sacred...Bravo! Moroccans are accepting to all types of music ...they will love her I'm certain.
Mary Finnigan:  I was somewhat surprised at this choice but I think its a lot better than Bjork..did not like her --endured for an hour then left.
Jan Cornall: A perfect choice. She's a poet first and foremost - a sacred punk rock songstress whose vocals are part trance/chant. A priestess of the modern soul. This is why I don't sleep is just too darned exciting!
Peter Lord:  The Godmother of punk is a wise woman.
Eberhard Hahne: a reason to stay a few days more at Fez!!

On Twitter 

Hâte d'y être !!! J'espère que le public sera moins plombant qu'au concert de Bjork l'année dernière...
Stunning! Could it get any better than this?
Well done Fez Festival. Another winner and one we did not expect!
I love Patti Smith, but for the Sacred Music Festival????
Awesome. Totally freekin' awesome! 


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