Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Sufi Nights at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music 2013

The Sufi Nights are daily free concerts and a wonderful way to wrap up your day at the festival. The Dar Tazi garden venue is a great location and easy to find, being at the top of the Medina near Batha. Be warned that the Sufi Nights are very popular and so expect large and enthusiastic crowds of locals.

The Hamadcha Brotherhood at Dar Tazi

8-15 June 2013, free entry Dar Tazi: Sufi Nights from 23h00

These outdoor samaà concerts are open to all, and give a glimpse into Islamic culture through the richness and creativity of its artistic and spiritual dimensions. Musicologist Philip Murphy explains samaà - Much of what is performed is known as samaà - a form of Sufi music, and the literal translation from Arabic is audition, to listen or to hear, but with spiritual connotations. It also refers to a ritual taking place in the zawiya, Arabic for the corner of a Sufi house or meeting place, which could be attached to a Mosque, and which would indicate that the original samaâ used to meet in a corner.

Samaà is something that happens in the zawiya but is now becoming part of these cultural festivals. As Faouzi Skali explained, the evening was one of community prayer, not a performance. This is what adds intensity to the experience as it is never really a performance for outsiders, more for the Sufi’s themselves, but has now become a staged thing that has entered the world music market and festival circuits. It seems that it is a very personal celebration between the group themselves but it has also taken on the modern role as a public performance of what they do. There are some differences, for example with the Moroccan-Andalusian style there will usually be some kind of orchestra, but in the zawiya the typical way of doing it is without instruments, so it’s often just vocalising.

The samaâ isn’t really considered singing, it’s more melodic vocalising. It has been called chant, but it can be translated in different ways. The word is inshad in Arabic, which can be translated as chant or melodic vocalising, it’s distinct from singing, which has other connotations. To our ears it’s very melodic and the melodic rules, the ways that you develop melody, are similar for both, but it has to do with place, time and the role of music, it’s so very difficult to give an exact definition.

Marouane Hajji  photo: Sandy McCutcheon

One exception to the normal Sufi Night programming is the inclusion of local singer Marouane Hajji. If you intend to go along to this concert - go early! He is extremely popular and very good. His appearance will be in June 11th

Sufi brotherhoods appearing at the Sufi Nights:

Saturday June 8th: Tariqa Hassania (Laayoune)
A Sufi Brotherhood from the far south of Morocco.

Sunday June 9th: : Tariqa Habibia (Taza)
Taza, in Arabic: تازة) is a city in northern Morocco, which occupies the corridor between the Rif mountains and Middle Atlas mountains, about 120 km east of Fes.

Monday June the 10th: Tariqa Derkaouia (Azemmour)
A Sufi Brotherhood founded by Sharif Idrisi Moulay Larbi Derkaoui. He was born in 1760 in the Moroccan tribe Beni Bou Zerroual Brih. He was the disciple of the great mystic Moulay Ali Ben Abderrahman El Amrani said Jamal El Fasi who had his zawiya (lodge) in Fes, at a place called Hummat Er-Remula. The doctrine of Moulay Larbi Derkaoui proceeds from tarika Shadhiliyya jazouliya. He died in 1824 in his zawiya Bou Brih where he was buried.

Tuesday June 11th : Marouane Hajji

Wednesday June the 12th: Tariqa Touhamia (Fes)
The Taibia or Touhamia were servants of the sherifs of Ouezzane, who exercised their influence in Morocco and Algeria from the 18th cent.

Thursday June the 13th : Tariqa Hamadcha of Fes
Along with the Gnawa and the Aïssawa, the Hamadcha are one of the three most important so-called ‘popular’ Sufi brotherhoods in Morocco. The Hamadcha brotherhood was founded by Saint Sidi Ali Ben Hamdouch in the seventeenth century, and has become famous through the originality of its repertoire, its spellbinding dances, and the trance-therapy skills of its members.

Friday June the 14th : Tariqa Al Ajibia (Tangier)

Saturday June the 15th : Tariqa Ouazzania

Fes Festival program
Fes Festival Medina Map
Fes Festival Food! 

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Noah said...

Thanks for your excellent coverage of the festival. I'm attending for the first time and have found it very helpful. A question: do the Night in the City, Night in the Medina or late-night Sufi concerts ever reach a capacity or can someone arrive any time and still be able to hear the music (albeit perhaps from a distance)?

The View from Fez said...

Hi Noah - Usually you can find a space.. but with the Sufi Nights we think you would be better to go early.