The Fez Festival of Amazigh Culture is at its 9th Edition and this year has the theme:"Amazigh and Andalusia". The first night of the festival was a triumph, with a concert that rocked Bab Al Makina and a crowd of around 1500. The View from Fez reports...
From the moment the men and women from the small village of Kalaat Mgouna came on stage, the crowd was entranced. The intricate dance moves of the Ahidous Kalaat Mgouna were performed with consumate ease and when they left the stage after only two songs, the crowd was howling for more.
|Najat Aatabou enjoying every minute!|
But the woman the crowd had come to see was Najat Aatabou.
Aatabou took to the stage like a Moroccan Tina Turner, shimmying, striding, twirling and mesmerising the audience who knew every word of every song and joined in with gusto. Her band were superb, laying down solid beats, augmenting her performance without upstaging her.
As a pioneer Moroccan folk artist who appeared in the 1980s, Najat Aatabou's fame transcends the boundaries of her country. Foreign and Moroccan artists use her work, the most important of which are her songs Hadi kedba baina, Choufi Ghirou and J'en ai marre.
Hedi Kedba Bayna is about a woman whose husband is cheating on her. The title literally means "This lie is obvious" and was sampled by the Chemical Brothers on their song Galvanize. Choufi Ghirou, is about women who are in a relationship with married men, while in Morocco it is illegal to have such a relationship. Yet, despite the moral tone the song was delivered with a sensuality that is rarely seen in Morocco. The crowd lapped it up.
Her songs have evoked social and political discussion in Morocco and improved a lot in the area of feminism. Talking with Moroccan women in the audience, it is obvious that the discussion is on-going. 'She is our heroine,' one woman said. 'She says the things that we can't say.'
|Young fans capturing every moment on video|
In her own words: 'Through my artistic work, I chose to adopt the path of defending women in all respects... . My artistic works contributed in encouraging some women to break the barrier of the forbidden. Thus, they have the opportunity to express their opinions freely. I am delighted when they tell me that I helped them to achieve that.'
Last night at the Bab Al Makina Najat Aatabou did all of that and had the crowd on their feet dancing and applauding. As visiting internationally acclaimed festival director Bill Hauritz said, 'It was a world class act in an astounding venue!' - it was a triumph.
The Amazigh Festival continues until Sunday.
Photographs and story: Sandy McCutcheon
BAB MAKINA TONIGHT
21 :30 - 23 :30 - Groupe Kwasser (Maroc)
- Fatima Raissi Tihihit Banou
PALAIS DES CONGRES
Congrès Mondial sur “Amazighité et Andalousie »
9 :00 - 13 :30 -TRAVAUX DU CONGRES ET DEBATS
-ATELIER DE L'ALPHABET TIFINAGH
- LECTURE DE POESIE
JARDIN LALLA MERYEM
19 :00 - 21 :00 - FLAMINGO (Espagne) : Fès-Andalousie
- Najmat Rif (Maroc)
21 :30 - 23 :30 -Ahidous Tahla
- ABDELAZIZ STATI (Maroc)