Thursday, October 24, 2019

Music and Poetry at the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture

Wednesday evening saw crowds brace the cold and fill the French Institute’s “Dar Batha”, to hear a poetic piece with a musical twist.

Micheal Lonsdale 

Entitled “Les Sagesses”, the performance followed the plight of humanity by going into great detail about the problems they faced, from rain to food shortages, and therefore conveying the frustrations felt. From this, the poem emphasised the sheer significance of the relationship held between the wisdom of sufism and nature; that everything on this earth is linked. This in turn highlighted that belief (especially in Sufism), does not follow one narrow route, and that everything must be considered in order to attain it.

From first impressions, the ensemble appeared to be an eclectic mix, with Micheal Lonsdale performing the narration, alongside the accompaniment of the pianist Patrick Scheyder as well as the well known oud player, Léo Fabre-Cartier.  Despite a slow start from the Micheal Lonsdale, who at times proved hard to hear with an at times mumbling delivery over the mumbles of the audience, the encouragement from both the piano and beautiful oud accompaniment, eventually allowed him to find his rhythm.

Patrick Scheyder 

The performance from Patrick Scheyder on the piano, came across as an erratic and diverse range of sounds and tones leaving the audience in a state of anticipation for what they would be met with next. His hand-plucking of the piano strings gave the evening an avante garde atmosphere but it was less than perfect.

Léo Fabre-Cartier

For the non French speakers in attendance, the music from the piano also allowed them to decipher the course of the story, with the detached and heavy sounds creating a certain foreboding feeling in the room. At appropriate moments, the music from Léo Fabre-Cartier's oud countered this feeling of malaise, to allow for some softer sounds to enter the room.

Overall, the evening proved to be very pensive, with the performance obliging the audience to think deeper into the meanings and ideas they were met with.

Thursday at the festival: 
Ensemble Ibn Arabi - Jnan Sbil Gardens 9pm
Tariqa Wazzaniya - Jnan Sbil Gardens 9.30 pm.

Reporting: Alice Price
Photography: Sandy McCutcheon


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