Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fez Festival of Sufi Culture - Day Eight Review

The final round table set out a synopsis of the Sufi Festival's series of round tables. It was well attended on a beautiful afternoon in the Medrassa Bou Innania. The evening concert was held at the Bab El Makina
Moroccan hospitality - a man distributes mandarins to the audience
Nine members of the final forum
Women comprised around 65% of the audience
Closing Concert

The opening part of the final concert saw a warm welcome back to the stage for the Turkish contingent - great music, powerful singing, guttural chanting and being treated to an intense display of the dramatic power of the Khalwatiyya and in particular the extraordinary grace of Burak Bildik and his "whirling Dervish" brothers.

The leader of the Tariqa Khalwatiyya, Shaykh Nur Allah Fatih, is no stranger to festivals in Fez and it was a delight to have him back again.

Burak Bildik is mesmerising in his intense concentration
Shaykh Nur Allah Fatih is a powerful and charismatic leader

Part Two - the great voices of the Samâa of Morocco.

53 singers and musicians gave a great performance

The second part of the programme was an explosion of joyful Samâa - with an extraordinary number of musicians and singers - 53 in all. The audience reaction was immediate. This was the home team singing the songs loved by the people and they scored in the opening minute.

Although the solo singers get the most appreciation, the orchestra played superbly. The orchestration produced more than simply a backing band and the audience acknowledged it. Solo Oud and solo flute performances evoked applause from the audience as much as did the individual singers.

Marouane Hajji

The standout solo singer was, once again,  Marouane Hajji. Back in 2011, The View From Fez described Marouane Hajji as a "rising star". Now that that star has well and truly risen. Marouane Hajji, born in Fez in 1987, is a violinist and Sufi singer with considerable charisma, who began singing at the age of five, studying under the tutelage of Sheikh Haj Mohammed Bennis, at the Mederssa Rachidite in Ras Echarratine and with teachers at the Fez Conservatory of Music.

In 1998, he won first place in a competition held at the National Festival of Singers in Fez for his ability to captivate an audience, the power of his voice and originality of his performance.

The orchestra was superb
"Omitting to hear Marouane Hajji at a Festival of Sufi Music in Fez would be like a trip to the Louvre without seeing the Mona Lisa."
The Fez Festival of Sufi Culture opened with an homage to Al Shustari and so the Samâa, based on the poetry of Al Shustari, brought the Sufi festival to a fitting end. 

Text and photographs: Sandy McCutcheon

Click on links to read a full review of each day

Who are the Sufis?
Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight

The View From Fez is an official Media Partner of the Fez Festival of Sufi Culture


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