The 19th Fez Festival of Andalusian music will be held from 21 February to 1 March under the banner "Heritage, Authenticity and Renewal."
The annual project is produced by the urban district council of Fez. It is a great opportunity to experience wonderful Andalusian music performed by top orchestras and musical groups.
This year the organisers promise that... " the sumptuous riads and other mythical places of our spiritual capital will vibrate to the rhythms and sounds of the great masters of Andalusian music from Fez, Meknes, Rabat, Salé, Casablanca, Tangier and Tetouan."
The opening performance is expected to be given by the Balabile orchestra fro Rabat, under the direction of Abdelkrim Aamarti and the Assala group from Meknes, led by artist Mohamed Ouarti.
To close the festival the organizers have scheduled the famous troupe Brihi Fez, led by Anas El Attar, and the Institute of Tetouan edited by Mehdi Chaâchouâ.
The Brihi Ensemble
Brihi Fez are a group not to be missed. This famous Moroccan Andalusian group is named after the musician and bandleader Muhammad al-Brihi. When al-Brihi died in 1940, `Abd al-Karim al-Rayyis took over leadership of al-Brihi’s group and named it after him. Under `Abd al-Karim the Brihi Ensemble became one of the most famous groups in Morocco. After his death in 1996 the present leader of the group, Anis al-`Attar, took over and he continues to lead one of the most important and active ensembles who perform Moroccan Andalusian music.
|Brihi Ensemble - photos Philip Murphy|
The Brihi Ensemble's contributions normally include a wide variety of poems set to Andalusian rhythms and melodies. They are also known for their playing of rare pieces including works such as the complete first movement from a suite of songs called Nubat Raml al-Maya. According to one of the ensemble’s lute players, Muhammad al-Farris, all their performances are considered samā` wa madīḥ because the poetry focuses on praising the Prophet Muhammad, and prayers to God.
Other Festival Events
In addition to the musical side, the event includes art exhibitions and writings on Andalusian music, books that focus on different historical and artistic aspects and debates, led by professors and specialists in the area. Several conferences are also on the menu, such as those dealing with the history and masters of Andalusian music in Fez. For Fez Council, these activities aim to perpetuate this highly authentic musical art that came as a result of mutual influences between the Maghreb, Andalusia and the East. The festival hopes to consolidate Andalusian music's place among the list of Moroccan heritage events.