The final night of the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture was held at The Jnan Palace Hotel in Fez and was packed with an appreciative audience who savoured highlights of the festival - the Majmouat Adhakirine and the Tariqa Khalwatiyya from Turkey
The evening started a little on the late side but once the festival director, Faouzi Skali was assured that everyone who could be fitted in was present, he spoke warmly about the festival, describing it as an event that was rich intellectually, artistically and spiritually.
The audience agreed and as a local photographic artist told The View from Fez, "It was the best Sufi Festival so far." His only criticism was about the organisation of seating and added, "I would still like to see a wider variety of Sufi cultures represented".
|Faouzi Skali - a job well done|
The first performance of the night was described in the programme as Majmouat Adhakirine but was in fact the same orchestra from the night (Moroccan Amateur Association of Andalusian Music) with an additional five singers, bringing the number to fifteen and a double bass player.
Once again the local audience greeted them warmly as they paid hommage to Imam El Boussairi. And, again like the previous night, the star was local munshid (singer) Marouane Hajji whose voice seems to get better by the day.
|Once again a star performer - Marouane Hajji|
While there is much talk and discussion about the content of the festival, little is said of the people behind the scenes who make it all happen. So, hats off to the crew who made sure that technically the Sufi Festival went well. Special thanks to great work by the sound and lighting engineers. It looked as good as it sounded. The security and protocol officials also did a good job, particularly in the face of determined Moroccan women who attempted many times to block access by placing chairs in the aisles.
|Hats off to the sound engineer!|
The second half of the rather long programme was the crowd favourite - the Turkish Tariqa Khalwatiyya, who wasted no time in getting into action.
After a short dhikr (prayer) and some extraordinary chanting with their trademark low grunts (to the delight of many Moroccans), the dervishes began their whirling. It was superb to see them so close-up and marvel at their skill and concentration.
|Sheik Fatih Nurallah (centre) leads the Tariqa in dhikr|
|One of three drummers|
Congratulations to Faouzi Skali and to his team for another wonderful festival of Sufi culture.
Text and photographs: Sandy McCutcheon
See our full Sufi Festival coverage