Thursday, May 08, 2014

The Fes Festival 2014 - Press Conference

The Barcelo hotel in Fez was the venue last night for a Fes Festival of World Sacred Music press conference attended by around a hundred members of the media and sponsors organizations. A brief musical offering began proceedings...

At the event Director Faouzi Skali was congratulated on being awarded the highest French cultural award. On May 1st Dr Skali was created a Chevalier (Knight) de la Legion d'Honneur by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

The award recognises Dr. Skali’s pioneering work as an ambassador for cultural diversity, religious pluralism and spiritual and humanitarian values. He founded the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in 1994 – after he was horrified by the implications of the First Gulf War.

Dr Skali

The 2014 Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, which runs from the 13th to 21st of June, is the the 20th edition and will be celebrated under the theme "Conference of the Birds" (La Conférence des oiseaux). The reference is to an epic of the same name of approximately 4500 lines written in Persian by the poet Farid ud-Din Attar, who is commonly known as Attar of Nishapur.

Come you lost Atoms to your Centre draw,
And be the Eternal Mirror that you saw:
Rays that have wander'd into Darkness wide
Return and back into your Sun subside -
Conference of the Birds

Faouzi Skali reminded the audience that The conference of the Birds is a metaphor for the coming together of cultures and spiritual paths. And, as he pointed out, each night at the festival is a voyage  - of inspiration, revelation and spiritual discovery. The events create the opportunity for a convergence of all our senses and resulting in a transformation.

In his remarks Dr Skali thanked the French Consul General and the French Institute of Fez for their support and for assisting the street children's circus which will perform on the fringe of the main festival. He also said that the Cultural Cafe will also be part of the festival and provide young people's forums.

The press kit was made available (so far sadly only in Arabic and French) and a short film highlighted some of the superb concerts from previous years.

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