While the attention of sacred music lovers is turned to tonight's opening in Fez, there are other more secular offerings in Morocco. The 16th edition of the Mawazine Festival in Rabat and Sale also starts today and is expected to draw more than two million spectators
Running from today until May 20th the festival is offering around one hundred acts.
Tonight's opening features British pop star Ellie Goulding on the "international" stage of the festival and Charles Aznavour, in the Mohammed V Theatre.
|The opening night of the Mawazine Festival|
Other acts during the festival include American rapper Wiz Khalifa, the ex-singer of the Fugees Lauryn Hill, the very bling-bling French rapper Booba, New York musician Nile Rodgers and Rod Stewart.
On the "African" stage, at the foot of the Kasbah des Oudayas, at the mouth of the Bouregreg river, the Ivorian Alpha Blondy, the Malian couple Amadou and Mariam or the Angolan Bonga will be the main attractions.
It is encouraging to see that half of the programming is devoted to Moroccan artists and singers. These include Asma Lamnawar, Hatim Ammor, Latifa Raafat, Fatima Tabaamrant, Hamid El Kasri, Zina Daoudia and Saida Charaf.
In 2016, the Mawazine Rhythms of the World festival gathered 2.6 million spectators, according to its organisers.
The Fez Festival Opening
In Fez, the opening night spectacular, Tales of Water, takes place at Bab al Makina at 9pm
The opening night creation on the theme of water will be a look at water from both an ecological and spiritual perspective.
It was around water that were built the great founding cities like Fez and that will be the starting point of the show. The fountain gives purifying water from the spring.
Each fountain in Fes will be the beginning of a story and a different fable that will take us across oceans, rivers, mountain springs. Between references to the Bible, the Koran and Sufism, the great founding myths will help us to understand the importance of respect for water and nature for the future of the earth.
The ocean and the rivers will be evoked in Amerindian traditions, the Caribbean and South America as well as in the origin of Fez as a refined system of irrigation.
"In the Maghreb, the well-known Aïsha Kandisha, a giant djinn who protects lovers, haunts rivers ready to lure the solitary wanderer or lost shepherd to her nocturnal beauty. In Fes, she is hidden within the waters of Oued El Jawahir (River of Pearls) which runs on the outskirts of the medina, under the bridge at Place de la Noriah, just behind Bab al Makina. In this place, inhabitants talk of a mystical dimension, leaving offerings of candles, bread, and a slaughtered black cockerel to appease the djinn" - Artistic Director Alain WeberOnce again the show will employ sophisticated mapping and other scenographic techniques