Friday, February 15, 2013

Rihanna to Headline Morocco's Mawazine 2013 Festival

The Mawazine Festival has confirmed that  seven-time Grammy winner, Rihanna, will perform at this year’s festival in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, as the headline attraction on opening night, Friday, May 24. 

Rihanna at this year's Grammy Awards

The Morocco Culture Association has announced that singer Rihanna will perform at the 12th annual Mawazine Festival, Rhythms of the World.

Rihanna will perform on the stage of the OLM Souissi in Rabat on Friday, May 24, 2013 as the headline opening act.

The performance by the R & B and pop superstar, before an estimated crowd of more than 70,000, will be part of her Diamonds World Tour. Rihanna won her 7th Grammy award at the 55th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, for Best Short Form Music Video, with “We Found Love.”

Each spring in May, the Mawazine Festival has rocked Rabat to the sounds of music from the four corners of the Earth, including exceptional artists such as Elton John, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Shakira, Mika, Sugababes, Stevie Wonder, Kylie Minogue, LMFAO, Pitbull, and Alicia Keys.

The Mawazine ("Rhythms") Festival is a festival of pop music featuring Arab and international music icons. It has been running since 2001 and takes place annually in Rabat. Mawazine is one of several events which are intended to promote an image of Morocco as a tolerant nation, with a post on the event's website declaring that the festival intends to promote and "support Rabat, as a city open to the world".

Over the years a section of the community has criticised Mawazine for "encouraging immoral behaviour". There has also been criticism from politicians.

As The View from Fez reported back in 2010, (see story here) the head of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) parliamentary group, Mustapha Ramid, led the attack on Sir Elton John's appearance at the Mawazine Festival, "We categorically reject the appearance of this singer because there is a risk of encouraging homosexuality in Morocco," Ramid said at the time. "The problem is not with the singer himself but the image he has in society," another leading party member, Lahcen Daoudi, added. "Moroccan society has a negative perception of this singer and we must take it into consideration."

The Festival lineup this year looks stunning and with no acts likely to upset the politicians. The inclusion of a wide range of artists including the legendary Deep Purple and famed Gnawa musician Hamid el Kasri, would suggest that the festival, in its 12th edition, is set to be a great success.

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