Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fes Festival Sufi Nights - Frenetic and Joyful

When is a Sufi night in Fez like a rock concert? When its led by the charismatic Noureddine Tahiri - thats when!

With his irresistible enthusiasm and powerful leading voice Tahiri took his talented and exciting players and singers from the Naqchabandia Brotherhood to great heights last night. Dar Tazi was rocking till way after midnight to their chants and beats. And once again the locals outnumbered the foreign visitors by ten to one. It was obvious that this Sufi group has a large number of groupies.

The Naqchabandia lineup was made up of six string players a flute and three drummers. The strings included oud, cello, three violins played vertically in the lap and across the chest, a local version of the violin with jewel encrusted bow and a gourd like guitar (Goutar). The small hand held drums were wired for sound and gave a driving beat to the concert.

Noureddine Tahiri

Each of the players were given a solo moment and an appreciative audience gave rousing support to the youngest violinist ( about 17) who gave us a virtuoso turn on his instrument. This set the scene for the Malem calling the audience into the performance. They sang in unison and then sang in turn with the group, they clapped as he raised his hands high and they waved their hands and cheered as the music grew faster and more frenetic and they called for more as each song ended.

This was Sufi music for even the uninitiated to adore. A rockin' and joyful night at old Kasbah indeed!

Text and photographs: Larry Marshall

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