Master Gims, Kadim Al Sahir and Najat Aatabou are all lining up for a brand new international festival in Ifrane. The first edition of the event, organised by the Ifrane Forum for Culture and Development Association in partnership with the Fez Sais Association, will take place from 15th to the 17th of July under the theme "Convergence"
To open the festival, organisers have pulled out all the stops and enlisted the great master of romantic Arabic song, Kadim Al Sahir. Kadim Al Sahir is not just famous for his saccharine, romantic songs, but also well known as the host of the Middle East version of The Voice
|Still a heartthrob at 57 years of age|
“I like pop music. I think it’s beautiful. But I prefer the classical Arab music. I want to feel. When I write songs, I have to feel it. And the difficulties of life in Iraq encourage Iraqis to go deeply into things. Suffering is important some times. In Baghdad, yes, we have had too much trouble. But if life isn’t always easy, that can make you stronger. That’s why I chose Nizar’s poems. I know they’re very difficult, but I love that. I love it. As a musician, I want my music to be heard. Because whenever I play, there are lots of people from Kuwait, Saudi, all together listening to the music. Because I don’t have any animosity, just love. Just romantic songs. You can see the whole Middle East at my concerts" ~ Kadim Al Sahir
Latifa Raafat, the "diva" of the Moroccan song, is programmed for the same evening. While, next day, French rap superstar star Maître Gims, will be the star.
Sunday, it is the turn of Amazigh legend Najat Aatabou. If Aatabou's performances in the past are anything to go by she should be the star of the Ifrane Festival. Aatabou delivers with a sensuality that is rarely seen in Morocco. Her songs have evoked social and political discussion in the country and raised many feminist issues.
Aatabou alone, is worth travelling to Ifrane for. She takes to the stage like a Moroccan Tina Turner, shimmying, striding, twirling and mesmerising the audience who know every word of every song and join in with gusto. As a pioneer Moroccan folk artist who appeared in the 1980s, Najat Aatabou's fame transcends the boundaries of her country. Foreign and Moroccan artists use her work, the most important of which are her songs Hadi kedba baina, Choufi Ghirou and J'en ai marre.
Hedi Kedba Bayna is about a woman whose husband is cheating on her. The title literally means "This lie is obvious" and was sampled by the Chemical Brothers on their song Galvanize. Choufi Ghirou, is about women who are in a relationship with married men, while in Morocco it is illegal to have such a relationship.
"Through my artistic work, I chose to adopt the path of defending women in all respects... . My artistic works contributed in encouraging some women to break the barrier of the forbidden. Thus, they have the opportunity to express their opinions freely. I am delighted when they tell me that I helped them to achieve that" - Najat Aatabou
|Najat Aatabou - a Moroccan Tina Turner|
The festival has some undoubtedly quirky additions to its programme. For a start, three famous Moroccan chefs, Chef Mouha, Meriem Tahiri and Chef Rachid, will be on hand to "prepare tasty dishes and animate this event", the organisers say.
In addition, the famous Jemaa el-Fna in Marrakech will be "moved" to Ifrane, for thirty days. This will provide visitors to the city a space for popular cultural traditions - storytellers, poets, and musicians.
The aim of the festival is, according to its initiators, "to contribute to the opening up of different cultures."