Sunday, June 15, 2014

Amazing Music at Fes Festival in the City and First Sufi Night Reviews

Festival in the City 

The moon rose over Boujloud square and the people of Fez gathered in their thousands to enjoy the first of the free concerts at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. A still warm breeze wafted across this large open square bringing delicious smells of kebabs and corn cooking. The fresh orange juice sellers were doing a very good trade.

The audience is sitting quietly waiting for the concert and children are playing everywhere. This is truly a family event and the foreign visitors are a small minority. this is music for the people of Fez.

The Amazigh (Berber) people of Morocco are the majority and it is their Ahidous songs from the Atlas mountains that are on show tonight. As they arrive on stage in traditional dress they are welcomed with warm applause. when they begin to sing and dance the people shout back at them and clap in time.

It is infectious music and choreographed movement between the white robed men with drums and the colourful women singing in the ululating style of North Africa. Mohammed from Fez summed up the joy of the crowd succinctly "This is really OUR music. This is Moroccos heritage , its Berber culture - I am happy to see it here in Boujould."

The first Sufi Night at Dar Tazi

National Tijani Group of Rabat directed by Mohcine Nawrach with Sama'a and Madih

Dar Tazi is the perfect venue for these free late night Sufi concerts. There are soft carpets laid under the trees and the expectant crowd is sitting or laying at full stretch under the full moon and stars. At eleven o'clock the stage is lit with golden light and the 20 members of the National Tijani group of Rabat settle on stage. The women and young boys sit cross legged in front and the male singers and players sit behind on chairs.

The leader ( malam) sits to the left directing the group

The songs are deliberately repetitive in style and allow the audience to relax into the trance like rhythms that are created by the Sufi voices and instruments. It is obvious that there are many Sufis in the audience and they are soon rocking back and forth, singing and clapping in time with the group. At times the music builds and gets faster and faster and then it slows again and takes you on a journey into yourself. This is sacred Sufi music at its best transporting the audience to holy places and giving them a glimpse of the divine within each of us.

For visitors it can be an uplifting experience as Maria from Portugal told The View from Fez "This is my first time to experience such music. It is beautiful and touches me inside my heart."

Tonight's free concerts;
6.30pm Bab Boujloud Square Musa Dieng Kala and Jil Jilala
Sufi Night at Dar Tazi at 11pm the Darkaouia Zaouia Brotherhood from Essaouira

Review and photographs: Larry Marshall

Tomorrow at the Fes Festival (Monday June 16)

Fez Forum at 9 at Batha Museum:  Giving Soul to Globalisation. Managing diversity 
Batha Museum 4pm: Bardic Divas - Kazakstan, Uzbekistan
Nights in the Medina 8pm &10pm Dar Adiyel: Wang Li and Amazigh poets
Dar Mokri 8pm & 10pm St Ephraim Choir - Hungry
Dar Batha 8pm &10pm  Majlis Trio - France
Batha Museum 9pm Altan - Ireland
Festival in the City 4pm: Jnan Sbil Garden: Women's orchestra of Fez
Festival in the City 6.30pm Bab Boujloud Square: Luzmila Carpio
Sufi Night at Dar Tazi 11pm:  Saqalia Brotherhood of Fez with Haj Mohammed Bennis
Tomorrow's Weather:  Cooler - Max 32 degrees Celsius (89.8 Fahrenheit) 
Fez Medina Map

The View from Fez is an official media partner of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

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