Saturday, October 27, 2018

Fez Festival of Sufi Culture - Day Eight Review

The final night of the Fez Festival was devoted to the dervishes and spiritual chants from Châm. They attracted a huge audience - far more than the venue could safely accomodate. Loud complaints from those forced to stand were soon quelled and the chants began.

The brotherhood were in fine voice with their charismatic lead singer receiving cheers and applause through a particularly good section.  He obviously enjoyed the response and continued with a broad grin on his face.

A very happy lead singer

The group's voices were augmented by qanun, ney, oud and percussion. The instrumental sections were gracefully delivered without ostentation.

But, all of this was just a warmup for the dervishes. Unlike some previous years, there were only three of them on the slightly small and restrictive stage. Fortunately the stage was raised and so a majority of those seated had a good view of what they had come to see.

For the casual visitor as well as the hardened Sufi Festival patrons, the whirling dervishes are fascinating. From the moment they take off their black cloaks and perform a ritual bow to each other, the effect is mesmerising. The dervishes make the whirling look so simple.

The performance was less theatrical than some we have seen at the festival, in previous years, such as the dynamic Tariqa Khalwatiyya back in 2013. But, for their part, the audience were happy and had no need of comparisons.

It was a near perfect end to what has been a well run festival.

The View From Fez is an official Festival Media Partner

"Sufism is the secret, subtle reality concealed in the very depths of the Muslim faith and only by mining those depths can one gain any understanding of this enigmatic sect." - Reza Aslan"


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