Monday, June 16, 2014

Fes Festival Sufi Nights and Musa Dieng Kala at Boujloud

The Festival in the City at the Boujloud Square is proving to once again be a huge hit with locals and visitors, with the free concerts attracting thousands. Larry Marshall reports for The View from Fez

The birds of Fez fill the sky above Boujould square and add meaning to this festival of cultures entitled The Conference of the Birds'. Like the birds the people are gathering to hear from one of Africa's greatest voices.

Musa Dieng Kala

Sengalese born Musa Dieng Kala is resplendent in shimmering blue leading his band of traditional drummers with a kora, guitars, a horn, flute and two backing singers. The crowd is building and the music washes over the square as people sway to the African rhythms.

A short break whilst the crowd continues to swell and Jil Jillala arrives to rousing applause. This well loved Moroccan band hails from Marrakech and was formed first by Performing Arts students in the 70's. Their political songs have become anthems for the people and when they sing Laayoune Ayniya ( the song of the 'Green March' into Western Sahara) the crowd is in raptures.

A band with political punch and staying power

Rabia who was born in Fez told The View from Fez that she has followed this band forever because they sing passionate songs about the problems of their people.

Sufi Nights

The second of the Sufi Nights saw another large crowd attend the late night event.

Dar Tazi is turned into a carpeted Sufi sacred space and the crowd is bigger tonight as people keep arriving after earlier concerts at other venues. They have come toto hear from the Wazzania Brotherhood and their Malam - Omar Ouazzani Chahedi.

Malam - Omar Ouazzani Chahedi

There are hundreds sitting under the stars and swaying to the trance like chants of the men in white robes. Many sway to the music with eyes closed whilst others are clapping and singing along. There are young men who sit in a group, devotees who sing every word along with the Malam. There are families and older people with rapturous faces.

 This is ecstatic music for believers to venerate Allah and give themselves up to the energy of the moment. The final song builds to a crescendo of sound as the Malam's voice shouts out the names of Allah. Then suddenly it is over and the people rise to pay tribute to Wazzani and melt away into the warm night with their souls refreshed by this sacred music.

"This is really Zikr the movement of God. That is why I am here to experience this." Hamad from Australia 
"This is my twelfth visit to Fez. I come for the sacred music because it helps to bind us together and gives us hope. But I come for the Sufi most of all. Their music is true and deep and spiritual and it brings everyone together. It is uplifting to my spirit!" - Daniel from the Caribbean

Text and photos: Larry Marshall

Tomorrow at the Fes Festival (Tuesday June 17)

Fez Forum at 9 at Batha Museum:  Giving Soul to Globalisation. What chance peace in the Middle East
Batha Museum 4pm: Jordi Savall - Spain
Nights in the Medina 8pm Dar Adiyel: Canticle of the Birds - Musical lecture .
Dar Adiyel.10pm: Qawwali Marifat Band  Pakistan
Dar Mokri 8pm & 10pm Khalil Abu Nicola - Palestine
Batha Museum 9pm Tomatito Sextet - Spain
Festival in the City 4pm: Jnan Sbil Garden: Nasr Migri
Festival in the City 6.30pm Bab Boujloud Square: Sefrawa Fusion, Ribat Fusion
Sufi Night at Dar Tazi 11pm:  Naqchabandia Brotherhood
Tomorrow's Weather:  Cooler - Max 31 degrees Celsius (87.8 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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