|Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 7, 2015 at 11:25 PM||comments (0)|
From 22-30 May 2015, the ancient city of Fes will host the 21st edition of its world famous Sacred Music Festival. The origins of Fes lie in the 8th century by Idris I, who is known for bringing the religion of Islam from Arabia in the East, to Morocco. Fes' spiritual credentials were boosted by the establishment of the al-Qarawiyyin (or al-Karaouine) University, mosque and madrasa (religious school). It became one of the spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and remains today the longest-standing university in the world. Fes' role as the spiritual hub of Morocco is underscored by its historical role as the seat of Islamic learning in the Kingdom and an openness towards other cultures and religions.
These factors make it the perfect location for two of Morocco's most well-known festivals: the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture (18-25 April 2015) and the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music (22-30 May 2015). (Note: This year's Sacred Music Festival is being held a few weeks early to avoid a clash with the Holy month of Ramadan. It is normally held in June). This year's 21st edition of the Sacred Music Festival has as its theme 'Fes: An African Reflection.' The aim is to connect Fes to its broader African and Islamic spiritual heritage. In addition to the opportunity to see Sufi musicians and practioners from across the Islamic world, the Festival will musicians and artists of other spiritual traditions in a range of impressive indoor and outdoor venues. The program boasts a selection of artists which is much broader than the title would suggest - audiences will be treated to Indian, Persian, Scottish and American artists as well as a great number of North and West African musical and spiritual performances. A particular highlight will be the opening night (Friday 22 May), an event entitled "Fes in search of Africa", which will feature some world class Moroccan and West African musicians including Driss al Maloumi (Oud), Ballaké Sissoko (Kora) and Chérifa (Tamazight song from Morocco's Middle Atlas region) as well as artists from South Africa, Egypt, Burkina Fasso, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, French Guyana and more.
Afternoon concerts are held in the garden of the Batha Museum. These include a tribute to the great Sufi master, Rumi , in the Persian Kurdish tradition by the Payiz Ensemble of Iraq on Saturday 23 May and the fabulous Julie Fowlis of Scotland, who sings haunting melodies in her native Scots Gaelic language on the Sunday. Monday will see an unusual and inspirational collaboration between Malian Ballaké Sissoko on kora and Debashish Battacharya on Indian slide guitar. The larger evening concerts are held at Bab al Makina, an open-air parade ground near the Royal Palace. Saturday night will see a meeting between the bagpipes of Brittany, France and the folk music of Tissa, in Morocco’s northern Rif mountains. On Sunday, Malian diva Oumou Sangare and Tiken Jah Fakoly, master of African reggae from Ivory Coast will celebrate the festival's African theme in their joint concert.
Monday night (25 May) sees the first of the Night in the Media events, with Eduardo Ramos of Portugal exploring the rich cultural tapestry of Arabic, Sephardic Jewish and Andalusian music across the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. Fans of Cuban music are in for a double treat! On Monday evening Cuban pianist and musical innovator Omar Sosa returns once again to Morocco for the premier of Marassam with Tamango (urban tap dance, USA & French Guyana), Rodrigo (percussion, Cuba) and Jean de Boysson (visuals, France). The following afternoon's concert features Roberto Fonseca and one of Mali's latest musical exports to global stages, Fatoumata Diawara. The two are bound to create an explosive and colorful collaboration! The concerts of Night in the Media II on Tuesday 26th at Dar Adiyel will feature artists from China and Azerbaijan, while elsewhere on the same evening, Tunisian singer Sonia Mbarek will present the premiere of her work based on Sufi poetry, Wajd.
The Tuesday evening Batha Museum concert will explore the common roots of Andalusian music and Flamenco, featuring Benjamin Bouzaglou, star of the modern Arabo-Jewish Andalusian music scene. Night in the Medina III on Wednesday night features the epic Hilal story from the Poets of Upper Egypt, as described by Leo Africanus, 16th century explorer of North Africa. His history is intimately connected to that of the city of Fes: he came to Fes from his native al Andalus (modern-day Spain) at the time of the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion of Muslims and Jews. He went on to study at the University of Al Karaouine before beginning an illustrious diplomatic and travelling career, during which he documented the geography of Africa. Other Wednesday night events feature artists from Tamil Nadu, India as well as Sardinian and Corsican representatives of Mediterranean traditions.
Thursday's program features elements as diverse as flamenco, Moroccan Arabic musical traditions and the big attraction at Bab Makina - The Temptations with Dennis Edwards, presenting their own style of Rhythm and Blues to a whole new audience. All of Friday's events draw on North African and Spain's Andalusian heritage, including music from Algeria and another opportunity to see flamenco traditions. The evening concert is a grand spectacle of Arabo-Andalusian tradition featuring many of the Festival's North African artists. Saturday's schedule showcases Syrian Muwashshah traditions of Arabic poetry and music; gospel with an African touch, and the final concert with Hussain Al Jasmi of the United Arab Emirates.
As the diverse program suggests, the Fes Sacred Music Festival takes a very broad and inclusive view of the sacred and of the importance of indigenous and non-tangible elements of global heritage. There is surely something to satisfy many musical and artistic interests, but also plenty of opportunity to discover lesser-known musicians and artistic genres. On a practical note, Fes gets very busy during this Festival. Visitors are advised to book accommodation early. Tickets are not yet available online but will be soon and can be purchased for individual events or for the Festival as a whole. Seating is not allocated, so arrive at venues early to avoid disappointment. Some venues are more comfortable than others and some are outside, so dress appropriately and bring something to sit on! There is no afternoon concert on the Wednesday. This is a great time to relax in the Fes medina or take an excursion out of town to nearby Meknes or Volubilis. Fes is an impressive city in any season, but with the fabulous line up for 2015, a trip to the 21st Fes Sacred Music Festival is an opportunity not to be missed!
Written by Lynn Sheppard Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 7, 2015 at 12:10 PM||comments (0)|
FES FESTIVAL OF WORLD SACRED MUSIC 21st EDITION PROGRAM
From 22-30 May 2015, the ancient city of Fes will host the 21st edition of its world famous Sacred Music Festival. This Fes Festival Program offers a full schedule of magnificent musical performances at the Bab Makina, the Bab Boujloud Gate and the Batha Garden & Museum.
Friday 22 May Bab Makina – 21h00 Opening night Fes: in search of Africa From desert wastes to the treasures of ancient palaces, this great musical tale evokes the spirit of African heritage. It takes its inspiration from The History & Description of Africa written by Hassan Al Wazzan (c 1490-1550, known as Leo Africanus or Yuhanna Al Assad in Arabic), as well as highlighting the history of the Tijani Sufi brotherhood. Fes and its medina is the link between Andalusia and Africa. The performance is a tribute to these great mystical travelers who forged historic links between Morocco and the rest of Africa. Artists include: Driss al Maloumi – oud – Morocco Ballaké Sissoko and Kora Ensemble – Mali Cape Philharmonic Youth String Quintet – South Africa Musicians of the Nile – Egypt Masks of the Moon – Burkina Faso Doudou N’Diaye Rose Children & the Simb Lion dance – Senegal Nouhaila Al Kalaa – Fes, Morocco Coumbane Mint Amartichitt – griot from Mauritania Chérifa – Tamazight song from the Middle Atlas – Morocco Malick Sow, Tijani master from Tivouane – Senegal Babani Koné , Mandinka song – Mali Moriba Koita, Ngon – Mali Tamango, dance – USA, French Guyana Mohammed Bajjedoub – Tijani song - Morocco Direction & Production: Alain Weber Lighting: Christophe Olivier, assisted by Gaël Boucault Mapping: Spectaculaires
Saturday 23 May Batha Museum – 16h30 Payiz Ensemble – Persian Kurdish Tradition – Iraq The skin on the lute trembles like living flesh. Jalal Al Din Rumi The Kurdish soul lies between Persian heritage and Sufi inspiration, in the heart of Iraqi Kurdistan, a land now in crisis. Here its legendary sacred poetry is revived. Bab Makina – 21h00 First part: The Brittany Bagad Cap Caval Band and the Lamkartass Ensemble from Tissa - France & Morocco An encounter between one of the most famous bagpipe bands of Brittany and the folk music of Tissa, in the foothills of Morocco’s Rif mountains. Second part: Saber Rebaï – Tunisia With his refined, attractive voice, Saber Rebaï is one of the most popular singers of the Maghreb. Inspired in his youth by the great performers Mohammad Abd El Wahab, Abd El Kader El Asaly, Wadih Al Safi and Abd El Halim Hafez, Rebaï has become one of the great romantic singers of our time.
Sunday 24 May Batha Museum – 16h30 Julie Fowlis – Scotland Singer Julie Fowlis embodies all the beauty and fragility of Scottish Celtic tradition. Bab Makina – 21h00 African Spirit In the forest, branches may quarrel but their roots are entwined. Peul proverb This year the Festival is dedicated to Africa. This concert presents Africa in its quest for identity through the music of Oumou Sangare, symbol of freedom for African women, and through the liberating spirit of African reggae. Oumou Sangare The amazing Malian diva Oumou Sangare represents African womanhood. Recognised by UNESCO and the FAO (Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN) for her social work, Sangare is one of the brightest stars of Mali in the Wassoullou tradition south of the Niger River. Tiken Jah Fakoly – Ivory Coast Master of African Reggae along with Alpha Blondy and the late Lucky Dube, Tiken Jah Fakoly is at the height of his career. He sings of the fundamental values of Africa.
Monday 25 May Batha Museum – 4.30pm Ballaké Sissoko (kora) and Debashish Battacharya (Indian slide guitar) – Mali & India Two string instruments and two musical masters together create melodic inspiration for a musical journey from the banks of the Ganges to the Niger River. Night in the Medina I Dar Adiyel – 20h00 Eduardo Ramos – Portugal Specialising in 13th century Arab and Sephardic music, Eduardo Ramos is one of the most well-known artists in Iberian medieval music. With a background in traditional Portuguese music and moving on through rock and Afro-jazz, Ramos gradually came to concentrate on his passion for the musical repertoire of the Sephardic Jews of Portugal and Spain. He plays the oud which allows him to integrate Arab music, too. Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef Cultural Complex – 20h00 and 22h30 Masks of the Moon – Bwaba Ritual – Burkina Faso This extraordinary magical ritual lies at the heart of the griot village of Baraba. Batha Museum – 21h00 Marassa Premiere – USA, Cuba & France Omar Sosa, piano, percussion Tamango, dance Rodrigo, percussion Jean de Boysson, visuals A musical, choreographic and multimedia creation by the famous Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, accompanied by urban tap virtuoso Tamango and Jean de Boysson’s visual creations. Dar Adiyel – 22h30 The Royal Art of the Kora Ballaké Sissoko invites more than a dozen musicians to take part in this sumptuous performance featuring the kora, the royal harp of the Mandinka empire.
Tuesday 26 May Batha Museum – 16h30 Roberto Fonseca and Fatoumata Diawara – Cuba & Mali An encounter between a young griot and Cuban music, both inherited from Africa. Night in the Medina II Dar Adiyel – 20h00 Li Daiguo, Pipa, Cello and Beatbox – China Young Chinese musician Li Daiguo celebrates nature in his own way : contemplative and inventive, as well as contemporary. Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef Cultural Complex – 20h00 and 22h30 Premiere Wajd Sonia Mbarek – Tunisia The famous Tunisian singer presents a special creation for the Festival featuring Sufi poetry. Batha Museum– 21h30 Diego Al Cigala – Spain With guest singer Benjamin Bouzaglou Diego Ramón Jiménez Salazar was born in Madrid into a family of performers. He is now a major voice of Flamenco. Dar Adiyel 22h30 The Sacred World of Mugham – Azerbaijan Arzu Alieva, voice Elchan Mansurov, kamancheh (string instrument) Malik Mansuro, tar (long-necked string instrument) Shirzaa Fazalieve, balaban (double-reed wind instrument) Mugham expressed the varied emotions of exaltation and is found in the great poetic traditions of the Caucasus and Iran. This poetry sings of mountains and palaces, of the desire to be loved, the wretchedness of separation or the inconstancy of a lover, the beauty of the land and the splendour of God.
Wednesday 27 May Night in the Medina III Dar Adiyel – 20h00 and 22h30 Sirat Al-Hilali The epic Hilal story from the Poets of Upper Egypt Ramadan Hassan and the Musicians of the Nile These men are very brave and very rich. They are part of the 6000-strong cavalry and are well-armed. From The History and Description of Africa by Leo Africanus The Hilal epic is evoked by Hassan Al Wazzan (Leo the African) and is still sung by a few poets in Upper Egypt. It tells of the invasion of the Maghreb during the 10th century by the Beni Hilal and Beni Soleim tribes from the Arab Peninsula. The great emblematic figure of this epic is Abou Zeid Al-Hilali, a warrior and poet (chaer) who, according to the story, was ‘as black as a raven’. Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef Cultural Complex – 20h00 and 22h30 Bhagavata Mela Ritual and Sacred Theatre – from Melattur village in Tamil Nadu - India Words and sense are the body of poetry; rasa [taste] is its essence. Bharata, René Daumal, Gallimard This sacred theatre group is making its first trip beyond the Hindu Temple of Melattur. India was home to some of the first ritual theatre, and this popular form of entertainment is inherited from ancient Sanskrit theatre. It celebrates the God Vishnu and his incarnation Krishna, with more than twenty artists. Batha Museum – 21h30 Paolo Fresu and A Filetta - Sardinia & Corsica The great masters of Corsican polyphonic voices meet Sardinian trumpet player Paolo Fresu for a Mediterranean musical encounter of deep spirituality.
Thursday, May 28th Medina Morning – 10h00 Music and tea in private riads Flamenco voices of Fes Batha Museum – 16h30 Nabil Benabdeljalil and the Zakharif Ensemble – Morocco The Zakharif Ensemble is composed of various artists performing with the young Moroccan composer and musicologist Nabil Benabdeljalil. Founded on principles both aesthetic and technical, the group’s diversity is at the heart of their creativity. Of various backgrounds and musical training, they make use of improvisation and variation to recreate ancient Arab music, including the Nahda Egyptian tradition of the long songs of Oum Kalsum. Bab Makina – 21h00 The Temptations – USA with Dennis Edwards Legends of Rhythm & Blues This acclaimed Motown group reinvents its Rhythm & Blues origin to inspire a whole new generation of musicians around the globe. The impact of soul, blues and gospel has led to African music having a significant influence on all genres of popular music, from raï to rock.
Friday 29 May Medina Morning – 10h00 Music and tea in private riads Beihdja Rahal – Algeria The Andalusian tradition of Algeria Batha Museum – 16h30 Amen en la voz del Hombre - Saeta sacred song from an original idea by Andres Marin Voices: Jesus Mendez Segundo Falcon Jesus de la Mena Classical musicians: Javier Trigos, clarinet Miguel Maceda, bassoon Angel Sanchez, oboe Chamber music with oboe, clarinet, bassoon and three exceptional voices to sing the Saeta of Seville: mystical songs of praise and invocations to God and the Virgin that express deep spiritual feelings. Through Flamenco romances, peteneras and seguiriyas, the soul of Andalusia and the Sevillian processions are brought to life. Bab Makina – 21h00 Andalusia Arabo- Andalous Orchestra of Fes, directed by Mohammed Briouel with Beihdja Rahal (Algeria), Sonia Mbarek (Tunisia), Benjamin Bouzaglou, Sanaa Maharati, Nabile Maan, Marouane Haji (all of Morocco) In the capable hands of master Mohamed Briouel, Andalous music shines forth in the great traditions of the Maghreb and Lebanon.
Saturday 30 May Medina Morning – 10h00 Music and tea in private riads Badre Rami – Syria The Muwashshah tradition of Aleppo Batha Museum – 16h30 Faada Freddy – Senegal Gospel revisited by African Rap singer Abdoul Fatah Seck Body percussion, heartbeats and finger clicks enliven this very African and innovative soul music. Bab Makina – 21h00 Hussain Al Jasmi – United Arab Emirates Hussain Al Jasmi has one of the most beautiful voices of the Arab peninsula. He presents a secular and religious repertoire full of the emotion and feeling that has made him so popular in the Maghreb.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on February 21, 2015 at 2:30 PM||comments (0)|
Morocco's ancient city of Fes (Fez) was Morocco's first imperial capital. Fes was established and developed by Idris I - founder of the Kingdom of Morocco and credited with the Islamization of the country - and his son, Idris II. More than a millennium later, it remains Morocco's spiritual heart. In some parts of the ancient medina, little has changed since mediaeval times. As such, the ancient palaces, Koranic schools and gardens make magical settings for two key festivals in the Fassi year: the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music (22-30 May 2015) and the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture (18-25 April 2015).
Sufism is typically defined as the mystical dimension of Islam and is such is often opposed by the followers of more conservative or literal Islamic philosophy. Many Sufis, however, maintain that the spiritual essence of Sufism transcends and pre-dates religions.
Sufis typically live and worship in orders or brotherhoods gathered around a Master, such as the famous Gnaoua of Morocco, or the Mevlevi Order of Turkey known for their whirling dervishes. Unlike mainstream Muslims, who believe that their communion is directly with Allah (God) through prayer with the purpose of bringing themselves closer to God in Paradise, Sufis believe that spiritual practice (such as charitable acts and self-discipline) can bring them closer to Allah in this life and that they can communicate with Him via certain practices in addition to prayer (eg song, dance, trance, whirling or others).
This practice of meditating on God through a focus, for example on repetitive beats or dancing is known as samaa. This is said to bring forth a person's love of God and purify the soul. The aim is to reach a trance-like state of ecstasy which is hoped to lead to deeper spiritual knowledge.
The 2015 Fes Festival of Sufi Culture is the 9th edition. Under the banner "The Religion of Love", the festival will celebrate the life and work of renowned Sufi scholar, Rumi. Jalaladdin Muhammad Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic. He was the inspiration for the creation of the Mevlevi Order, which practices samaa through music set to Rumi's poems and whirling. At this year's Fes Festival, here are several round table events and performances dedicated to discussion of Rumi's work and the Mevlevi. The Festival will also make tribute to Rabiaa al Adawiya (Rabiaa el Basri), who was an 8th century female Muslim saint and Sufi mystic from Basra, Iraq.
The Sufi Culture Festival also draws on indigenous Moroccan cultural and spiritual traditions, featuring Sufi Amazigh culture and poetry and the musical traditions of al Andalous, the Moorish Empire of the Middle Ages.
Sufism is an open, welcoming aspect of modern Islam and is more accessible in Morocco to non-Muslim audiences through Festivals, spiritual practices and the zawiyas (homes of the brotherhoods) than mainstream Islam whose mosques and cemeteries are typically closed to visitors. Whether your interest is in music, poetry, dance, religion or spiritual aspects of Sufism, the emphasis of the Sufis and of the 2015 Fes Festival of Sufi Culture on love is powerful and appealing. This year's Fes Festival of Sufi Culture is promises to be a stimulating and inspirational event!
PROGRAM OF FESTIVAL OF SUFI CULTURE & MUSIC APRIL 2015
Saturday 18 April 16.00
Opening ceremony General introduction by Faouzi Skali followed by a musical and artistic moment.
20.30 Concert : Mystic recital dedicated to Rabiaa al Adawiya
Sunday 19 April10.00 Round Table and poetic readings. « Tribute to Abdelwahhab Meddeb: Sufi moments ».
16.00 Round Tables: “Is there a revival of Sufism in the Muslim world?”
20.30 Samaa of the Tariqa Boutchichiyya Qadiriyya ( Morocco).
Monday 20 April 10.00 Round Table: ‘Persian Mystical Poetry and the Message of Love’
Hossein Gomshei Discussion led by Faouzi Skali with Hossein Gomshei, Leonard Lewisohn, and Alan Williams
16.00 Round Table: ‘Rumi and the Mevlevi: Poetry of Ecstasy and Love in Persian and Turkish’ Leonard Lewisohn, Alan Williams, and Roderick Grierson Discussion led by Faouzi Skali with Leonard Lewisohn, Alan Williams, and Roderick Grierson
20.30 Concert: ‘Aşkın Sesi: The Voice of Love’ : Mevlevi music for the ney: Kudsi Erguner.
Tuesday 21 April
10.00 Round Table: ‘Rumi and the Legacy of Persian Music’ Jane Lewisohn (with recordings)
Discussion led by Faouzi Skali with Jane Lewisohn, Leonard Lewisohn, and Hossein Gomshei
16.00 Round Table: ‘“Listen to This Ney”: Music of the Mevlevi Kudsi Erguner
(with recordings and live performance) ‘Visions of the Mevlevi: Eastern and Western Depictions of Semazens’
Roderick Grierson (with illustrations) Discussion led by Roderick Grieson with Kudsi Erguner and Faouzi Skali
20.30 Samaa of the Tariqa Khalwatiyya : Chaykh Nur Allah Fath ( Turkey).
Wednesday 22 April
10.00 Round Table: « The scriptural foundations of the Religion of the Love ».
16.00 Round Table: « Presence of Rabiaa » .
20.30 First part : Samaa of the Tariqa Rifaiyya ( Turkey) Second part: Samaa of the Tariqa Naqchbandiyya (Bosnia).
Thursday 23 April 10.00 Round Table: « Sufi Amazigh culture and poetry »
16.00 Round Table: « Bards of the spiritual Love of East and West ».
20.30 Samaa of the Tariqa Charqawiyya and of the Tariqa Wazzaniyya.
Friday 24 April 10.00 Round Table: « Writings and poems about spiritual love in Morocco and Andalousia » .
16.00 Round Table: « Culture and expressions of spiritual love in Sub-Saharan Africa » .
20.30 First part: Samaa of the Tariqa Siqilliyya Second part: Sufi singings of Alep: Homage to Jalaleddine Weiss
Saturday 25 April 10.00 Round Table: « Love and Futuwwa, the path of the Spiritual Chivalry » .
20.30 Sufi Samaa and Andalusian Music. Conferenciers Lecturers ( alphabétique order ) :
Abdelillah Arafa, Abdou Hafidi, Abdellah Ouazzani, Abdussamad Romero,
Alan Williams Bariza Khiari, Eric Geoffroy, Hossein Gomshei, Ines Safi, Jaafar Kansoussi, Jane Lewisohn, Katia et Gabrielle Legeret, Kudsi Erguner, Lila Anvar, Leonard Lewisohn, Michael Barry, Michel Boivin, Mounir El Kadiri, Roderick Grierson, Saad El Khiari, Saïda Bennani, Salamatou Sow, Souada Maoulainine, Suad El Hakim, Touria et Layla Iqbal, Xavier Guerrand-Hermès.
Written by Lynn Sheppard
Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on January 11, 2015 at 4:45 AM||comments (0)|
Springtime In the depths of winter, once the end-of-year festivities are over, is a great time to plan a spring break. Just dreaming of longer, sunnier days makes the winter fade and the spring seem closer. And where better to travel in spring than Morocco? You will find agreeable temperatures, trees in full bloom after the rains of winter and a range of activities and festivals in Morocco to give you a deeper insight into the natural and cultural diversity of this fascinating country.
Unless you wish to undertake specific activities which are dependent on the climate, the spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-October) are the best times to visit Morocco. This way, you will avoid the rain and chills of the winter and the searing heat of the interior and desert of the summer. For example, in Marrakech in Spring, the temperature is around 18-27°C (64-85°F) and in the evenings a light sweater is usually sufficient. Marrakech is a great starting point for a spring tour of Morocco. Once you have explored the sights and souks of this former imperial city, you can head into the Atlas Mountains, to the west.
The mountainsides of the High Atlas and (further north) Middle Atlas ranges are Morocco's fruit bowl. Depending on the location and when in spring you travel, you can trek, climb and ride on horseback among the beautiful blossom of apple, walnut, almond or cherry trees. A popular day trip destination is the Ourika Valley, where you can enjoy lunch in the valley base beside the babbling Ourika River and hike up through a series of waterfalls. More experienced trekkers will find spring an ideal time to ascend Mount Toubkal, North Africa's highest peak at 4,167 m (13,671 ft) and will still find a little snow at the top! A longer tour might take you towards the spectacular Tiz-n-Test pass as you head south towards the Souss Valley and Anti Atlas region.
As you travel out of Marrakech, you will pass many plantations of conifers and fruit trees. The area around Ouirgane is stunning at this time of year and hikes in the hills and valleys can easily be combined with a visit to the historic Tin Mal mosque - built in 1154 and one of only 2 mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims. Despite its isolated location, Tin Mal was the cradle of the Berber Almohad empire. If you travel to Morocco in May, we recommend you take in the Rose Festival in Kelaa M'Gouna. Dedicated to the famous roses of this area in the spectacular Dades Valley, this festival also celebrates local rural life and all the derivatives of rose you could ever imagine, including cosmetic products and the delicate rose water present in most Moroccan pastries and cakes. Your trip in this region could also take in kayaking or canyoning the rivers full of snowmelt, a night in an ancient fort along the 'Route of 1000 Kasbahs' or a trip into the Sahara Desert when the days are balmy and the nights clear and starry. You shouldn't miss the opportunity to see a Saharan sunrise or ride a camel over the dunes!
Spring is also a good time to visit Morocco's Atlantic Coast. In Agadir, temperatures are already summery, providing for days of golfing, swimming and watersports. To the south in the Souss-Massa National Park, spring is a great time to see native nesting bird species and bid farewell as migratory birds head north. Further up the coast in Essaouira, the trade winds start to pick up in spring, bringing fresh fish to the dockside.
Essaouira is also the venue for the Festival Printemps des Alizés - a classical music festival held to coincide with the main moussem season (period of festivities and pilgrimages to honour local Muslim and Jewish saints) in April/May. If you are lucky, your trip might coincide with a display of Arab horsemen, known as a fantasia. At these events, teams compete to charge their horses and fire their rifles in unison. It is a unique event not to be missed if you are in Essaouira Province in spring! Springtime is a great time to visit Morocco. From Marrakech, you will see snow-tipped mountains while sitting in a climate like a Northern European or North American summer. The opportunities to explore Morocco's countryside - the mountains, desert and coast - are unparalleled at this time of year and a range of festivals also offer an insight into Moroccan culture.
Written by Lynn Sheppard Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.
For more information about the Best Time to Travel Morocco Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on November 30, 2014 at 4:40 PM||comments (0)|
The Marrakech International Film Festival is now in its 14th year. The festival will take place in Marrakech from December 5th - 13th, 2014. Founded in 2000 as a means to promote Morocco as a production destination on the international film circuit, it is now responsible for an influx of film fan and film industry visitors every December to the 'Red City'. Although less well known than festivals such as Cannes or Berlin, the Marrakech Festival is accessible to the general public and is a great way to enjoy foreign and Moroccan films - either new releases in the competition category or old favourites in the retrospective sections. Films are shown in the Palais des Congrès (Congress Center) and then repeated at the Cinema Colissée in Guéliz.
Entrance to the Palais des Congrès is free with a public pass, available via online prior registration. A minimal entrance fee is charged for the second showings at the cinema. At the premiers in the Congress Center, the audience is made up mainly of local Marrakchis, students of Marrakech's ESAV school of visual arts and further afield, as well as film buffs and members of the cast and crew of the film. At the Colisée, you can experience the Moroccan film-going public in all its glory: clapping, cheering and heckling through popular films. Although less high-profile than other festivals, Marrakech has its red carpet moments - on the opening night, locals and visitors wrap up warm and grab a table on the terrace of the cafés opposite the Congress Center to catch a glimpse of the stars as they arrive or are interviewed in the glass radio booths which line Avenue Mohammed VI. This year, French actress Isabelle Huppert takes over the mantel from Martin Scorsese to lead a jury which features an international cast including British actor Alan Rickman (known for Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Love Actually and the Harry Potter movies).
The line-up of competition films includes only one Moroccan production, L'Orchestre des Aveugles (Orchestra of the Blind), a story of the relationship between a father and son, the second feature film directed by Mohamed Mouftakir. The 2014 Festival will open with The Theory of Everything, James Marsh’s film about the relationship between physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. J.C.Chandor’s A Most Violent Year will close the festival; a movie about an immigrant who fights to protect his business and his family during 1981, statistically New York City's most violent year.
Moroccans are big fans of Bollywood movies and in recent years, Marrakech has featured Indian films and attracted big Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan. 2014 is no exception: locals and visitors can enjoy the undisputed King of Bollywood on a big open air screen once again in Marrakech's iconic Jmaa el Fna square in this year's musical heist hit, Happy New Year. One of Bollywood's most expensive and highest grossing films, young Marrakchis are sure to flock to the square to catch it. The full Festival programme is still being finalised. It includes an homage to Japanese film as well as a tribute to two leading Moroccan producers, Khadija Alami and Zakaria Alaoui.
The list of the movies these two have worked on reads like a catalogue of almost every movie ever made in Morocco, including at the world famous Atlas Film Studios in Ouarzazate. Between them, their resumés include dozens of TV and feature film productions such as James Bond 24, Mission Impossible 5, Gladiator and the Bourne Ultimatum. Marrakech is a great winter destination: days are sunny and the city is presided over by the majestic snow-tipped High Atlas mountains. If you are in town at the start of December, why not catch some red carpet glamour and a sprinkle of silver screen stardust at the Marrakech International Film Festival?
Written by Lynn Sheppard Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients. You can contact Lynn at: email@example.com
For more information about a Marrakech Tour or the Film Festival of Marrakech Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on November 9, 2014 at 6:35 AM||comments (0)|
Photograph - Lynn Sheppard - Jalal Chekara and Chekara Flamenca, Essaouira Atlantic Andalucia Festival
The Festival des Andalousies Atlantiques (Atlantic Andalucía Festival) celebrated in October 2014 its 11th year in Essaouira, on Morocco's Southern Atlantic coast. It is now a well-established fixture in the annual schedule of this festival city, alongside the Gnaoua World Music Festival (which held its 17th edition in Essaouira - 2014) and the Printemps Musical des Alizés (the Spring chamber music festival initiated in 2000). All three festivals celebrate the rich cultural diversity of Morocco and in particular the urban coexistence of different religious and ethnic groups in Essaouira (or Mogador, as it was once known). Despite its modest size, 19th century Mogador was Morocco's foremost port.
This was Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah's strategic objective. He had created the kasbah (King's Quarters) of Mogador to house his officials alongside the families of 10 Jewish merchants he invited to develop trade with Europe and the new world. European traders and consuls soon followed and the Sultan's recognition of US independence in 1776 (the first head of state or government to do so) assured a significant market for the erstwhile 'port of Timbuktu.' Some of these prominent Jewish families - and the less wealthy families who followed them and found their home in the Mellah of Essaouira - were descendants of the Megorachim, who had fled the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 15th century after the fall of Al-Andalus. They came to Mogador from cities such as Tangiers, Tetouan and Fes, where many exiles has settled. This cultural melting pot of Muslims, Jews and Christians, of Arabs, Berbers, Europeans and Africans, fuelled great intellectual and artistic collaboration.
This is typified in the Andalusian style of music, which draws on Jewish, Arabic, Berber and Spanish influences. The poster for the 2014 edition of the Essaouira Atlantic Andalucía Festival features French painter Eugène Delacroix' work, 'Jewish Musicians of Mogador'. Delacroix didn't visit Mogador, but was present during the visit of a French delegation to the palace of Sultan Moulay Abd Er Rahman in Meknes in 1832. Wishing to present the best of his Empire, the Sultan brought an Andalusian style orchestra of Jewish and Muslim musicians from Mogador to play for the visitors. The 2014 festival presented a recreation (without the aid of any written records) of the piece which this group played for the Sultan's guests almost 200 years ago.
Photograph by Lynn Sheppard - Neta Elkayam at the 2014 Essaouira Atlantic Andalucia Festival
The annual Festival celebrates this common yet diverse heritage, as does the Conservatoire (Music School) of Essaouira, which today trains young musicians to preserve these rich traditions. The young artists, such as local talent Hicham Dinar Souiri, follow in the footsteps of great masters - some of whom, such as Abderrahim Souiri, ('Souiri' meaning 'of Essaouira'' and by extension its traditions), were on stage during the festival and who themselves have been influenced by the great names of the genre, such as Samy el Maghribi. In 2014, Festival-goers were also treated to the great Andalusian Orchestra of Tetouan, directed by Amine Al Akrami; flamenco dance and song from Chekara Flamenca in collaboration with both Rabbi Haim Louk (a master of Moroccan Jewish liturgy) and Abir al Abed (lead vocalist with all-female group, Arige); and the modern ensemble of Neta Elkayam (a gorgeous, talented and energetic female singer of Moroccan origin based in Israel) and Maher Khalil Deeba (Palestinian singer and oud musician from East Jerusalem). The significance of this Festival is not only in celebrating this past, but its contribution to a future in Morocco where inter-religious and intra-community tolerance and respect continues. As Mr André Azoulay, Patron of the Festival, Adviser to HRH King Mohammed VI and Jewish son of Mogador said on the occasion of the 2014 festival: "This story is not only written in the past." Morocco lives these principles today - no more so than in Essaouira.
Written by Lynn Sheppard
Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients. You can contact Lynn at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Essaouira's Atlantic Andalucía Festival or an Essaouira Tour Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on September 23, 2014 at 6:30 AM||comments (0)|
The Erfoud Date Festival takes place in early October for 3 days (dependant on the harvest) and makes for the perfect pitstop on a Morocco Private Tour. Erfoud is a small oasis town in the Moroccan Sahara desert, about 6 hours to the east of Ouarzazate. It is a quiet little town with red buildings surrounded by beautiful scenery and date palms stretching from Er Rachidia to the North, and Rissani to the south to form the largest expanse of palm groves in Morocco.
Each October, after the dates are harvested, the town comes alive for the celebrations of the annual Date Festival. Erfoud is at the centre of the date producing area with almost a million date palms. The festivities are accompanied by traditional music, dance and processions and it is a chance for tourists to sample the local festival food, especially dates, and enjoy the fun of the three day celebrations which include a fashion parade through the streets and the crowning of the ‘ Date Queen’. There is also an exciting dromedary race.
There are official tents for companies and cooperatives to promote their dates or date related products, with an official Governmental opening held on the first day. There are a hundred different varieties of Moroccan dates with 45 alone in the South of Morocco. There are various hotels in Erfoud where visitors can stay during the date festival . It is essential to book well in advance. These include the Kasbah hotel, Chez Tonton, Auberge Derkoua Chez Michel and the Belere hotel, amongst others. Dates have played an important part in Moroccan cuisine for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence suggests the cultivation of dates all the way back in 6,000 BC in Arabia. The date palm was a major source of life for thousands of people throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa and is said to have provided people with thousands of different uses including the palm and fronds to make thread, mattresses, lumber, rope making, and many other household and dietary uses. Dates are part of the first breaking of the fast, Iftar, along with milk and a bowl of harira soup. Dates are also very important in Islam with the date palm regarded as the “tree of life” as mentioned in the Story of Genesis They are also important for the local and national economy. Around 90,000 tons of dates are exported from Morocco annually, so the festival allows the people give a harvest thanks giving and pray for a good crop next year.
The largest and perhaps the best-known variety of the Moroccan dates is the Medjool date. Often referred to as “the king of dates” it was once reserved only for Moroccan royalty and their guests. They were, and still are, considered a precious confection and are typically the most expensive of the date varieties because their cultivation is more labor intensive. The date has a soft wrinkled flesh that gives way to a firm meaty center. When ripe, the date turns a dark brown color and with hints of wild honey, caramel, and cinnamon it is no wonder this date is considered a gourmet dessert. In the 1920’s date palms in Morocco were threatened with extinction by a disease, to save their dates Morocco sent eleven date palms to the USA. Nine of the eleven palms survived and are responsible for the millions of Medjool dates that can be found throughout California and in parts of Arizona. The Deglet Noor date, originally from Algeria, are the dates commonly used in Moroccan stuffed date recipes. Primarily an export crop, these dates are semi-dry with a firm texture and a sweet and delicate flavor. The Halawi Date is a soft wrinkled date with a meaty flesh and a sweet caramel flavor. While not as large or as favored as the Medjool Date the Halawi Date is still considered a delicacy and because of its soft sweet flesh and high sugar content it is often served as a dessert at Moroccan meals. Other date varieties include Boufeggous, Bouskri and Jihel.
For more information about Erfoud and the Erfoud Date Festival Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on August 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
The 2nd edition of the Ouarzazate Festival will take place from September 14th – 19th, 2014. The Ouarzazate Music Festival serves as an opportunity to promote the young artistic talents of Ouarzazate and its region. The outdoor spaces "3 March" and "Al Mouahidines ", as well as the Kasbah Taourirt will be the home of theaters and entertainment programs for this festival. The program will be rich and varied featuring both Moroccan and international artists. The singers Sami Rai, Hatim Alv, Naser Megri, Nabyla Maan, along with local Folk music are planned for this edition of the festival. The Ouarzazate Festival will feature Ahidous music, a traditional dance performed by Moroccan Berber tribes in form flowing circles accompanied by percussion rhythmic songs.
Also featured is Ahwash music. Ahwash music and dance is a local village folk dance performed by Berbers and a significant part of Amazigh culture in Atlas and the Souss region of Morocco. Ahwash incorporates the dance, poetry, songs with varied rhythms, and is different among each tribe. The festival is organized in partnership with the provincial council of tourism (CPT) of Ouarzazate and the Moroccan national Office of Tourism (ONMT). Best Places to Stay in Ouarzazate : Ouarzazate Riads Ksar Ighnda - A 5 Star Kasbah with great charm and unique architecture in the Ait Benhaddou region, just 25 minutes from Ouarzazate city center. French owned the property offer the perfect experience for Southern Morocco combining location with out door swimming pool, cozy places to sit back and read a book and good food. Located just 5 minute walk to Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah. Le Temple Des Arts - A 5 Star luxurious Riad in a restored villa offering rooms decorated with a film inspired theme. Perfectly located in Ouarzazate's city center this relatively new property is theme oriented and ideal for warm months with its shaded interior. It is Moroccan run. Service is good. Riad Dar Chamaa - A 4 Star boutique Modern Moroccan style hotel with majestic views, swimming pool and great charm. Moroccan - Spanish owned. The perfect place to stay with those on a limited budget. Located in Tabount, just 10 minutes from Ouarzazate city center. Where to Eat in Ouarzazate: Le Kasbah Des Sables - A gastronomic experience with a menu that combines the cuisine of Fes, Meknes, Tangier, Arab and Berber with 5 class fare. This restaurant offers a museum- quality atmosphere as its’ decor has been hand stitched together and is filled with Berber, Morocco traditional furniture and art that was hand crafted by local artisans in the Ouarzazate region. Each section of the restaurant offers an intimate environment and the opportunity to eat on tables that are hand painted and adorned with silver fibulas, Amber and other regional jewels. Chez Dmitri - This restaurant is a landmark in Ourazazate and was the first one to open in 1928. This family restaurant's reputation quite simply comes from its memorable international cuisine, as one may choose from a vast range of exotic dishes. The walls are decorated with photographs of many actors who have dined here while filming.It has gained an illustrious reputation and maintained it well. The restaurant is frequented by both tourists and locals who are looking for a quality meal in a charming, French-Moroccan atmosphere. Chez Dmitri offers authentic international cuisine and a wide variety of alcoholic drinks. For more information about the Ouarzazate Music Festival or Ouarzazate Tours Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on June 9, 2014 at 3:55 PM||comments (0)|
The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with the theme Conference of the Birds: Journey of Cultures. It has been twenty years of a musical, spiritual and artistic journey exploring the cultures and traditions of the world, revealed in ever greater depth through concerts, exhibitions, film screenings and debates. It takes place in Fes, Morocco from June 13th – 21st, 2014.
PRESS RELEASE – FES FESTIVAL OF SACRED WORLD MUSIC
The seven continents are represented by superb artists, grand masters renowned for their art: from Europe, one of the greatest tenors of our time, Roberto Alagna, presents a show created specially for the Festival; in addition to Tomatito, who works with Paco de Lucia at the top of his field of flamenco guitar. Representing Africa is an encounter between Youssou N’dour and Johnny Clegg in a tribute to Nelson Mandela; along with Rokia Traoré. From Asia is the prestigious Arab singer Kadem Saher and Zakir Hussain, the most celebrated Indian tabla musician. Morocco is represented by a number of artists during the opening concert and also in an Arab-Jewish-Andalusian evening showcasing the greatest Moroccan artists both Muslim and Jewish, presenting their magnificently rich cultural heritage.
Luzmilla Carpio from Bolivia represents South America, and Buddy Guy from North America, the great legend of Chicago blues who will be visiting Morocco for the first time with his ensemble, presenting the mythical music of this Afro-American culture. The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music and the Fes Forum, founded in1994 and 2001, are dedicated to the traditions of knowledge, art and spirituality of the city. The Fes Festival was designated in 2001 by the United Nations as one of the major events contributing in remarkable fashion to the dialogue between civilizations.
Forum Director and Founder, Faouzi Skali introduces the Festival and Travel Exploraiton Morocco is proud to present the 2014 program here.
The opening concert of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music features the premiere of a work specially commissioned for the Festival. It is a feast of stagecraft and the visual arts that encompasses music, dance, song, video and poetry. The opening concert at 21h00 on 13 June at Bab al Makina entitled Manteq at-Tayr in Arabic, Conference of the Birds : Journey of Cultures. This work encompasses the journey of different world cultures in their quest for direction and of their transformation as they encounter various exchanges. Performance inspired by The Conference of the Birds by Farid Ud-Din Attar, translated by Leili Anvar and published by Diane de Selliers. They take place throughout the Fes Festival as a fitting finish to the day’s events in a warm atmosphere full of spirituality and conviviality. It’s a perfect moment to be shared by all, in the gardens of Dar Tazi in the heart of the Fes medina.
Medina Nights Performers from June 16th – 18th: Breezes of the Atlas & Jews Harp from China, The Choir of Saint Ephraim, Majils Triom Atlan Ensemble, Leili Anvar, Marifat, Khalil Abu Nicola, Tomatito Sextet, Nouhalia El Khalai, Mor Karbasi, Zakir Hussain
Festival in the City Concert Program:
The Festival in the City brings together all the great traditions of sacred music, spiritual music, and world music. As part of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, it offers free daily concerts in popular city squares for the people of Fes, Morocco and from abroad. These large public concerts are free and take place at Boujloud Square at 18h30 (except saturday June 14th at 22h30 - 10:30pm) and at the Jnan Sbil garden at 16h. Saturday 14 June Jnan Sbil garden 16h : Ensemble Takht al Arabi, Aziz Liwae From Bab Boujloud 18h : 2nd RACE TO THE RHYTHM OF WORLD SACRED MUSIC with traditional folkloric groups from all over Morocco will perform along the route. Bab Boujloud 22h30 Chant d’Ahidous de l’Atlas / Badr Rami (Syrie) Sunday 15 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Songs of the group Aisawa, Said Berrada Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Musa Dieng Kala (Sénégal) / Jil Jilala Monday 16 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Feminin orchestra of Fès Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Luzmila Carpio (Bolivia) / Ouled Al Bouazzaoui (Songs of theAïeta ) Tuesday 17 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Nasr Migri Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Ribab Fusion (Amazigh’s songs from Souss)/Sefrawa Fusion (winner of the Tremplin Fé Riad 2014) Wednesday 18 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Roudaniyat, women from Mèknes Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Laabi Orchestra Thursday 19 June Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Amina Ben Souda Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Raza Khan (India) /Abidat Rma Friday 20 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Songs of Melhoûn, Mohammed El Hadri/ Amazigh poetry reading: Omar Taous Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Hot 8 Brass Band (USA)/ Saïda Charaf Sunday 21 june Jnan Sbil Garden 16h : Ihsan Rmiki Bab Boujloud 18h30 : Kadim Al Sahira Free entry Dar Tazi: Sufi Nights from 23h00 These outdoor samaâ concerts are open to all, and give a glimpse into Islamic culture through the richness and creativity of its artistic and spiritual dimensions. Saturday 14 June : National Tijani group of Rabat directed by Mohcine Nawrach, with sama’a and madih Sunday 15 June : Group from the Darkaouia Zaouia, Essaouira Monday 16 June : Group from the Sakalia Zaouia in Fes, directed by Haj Mohamed Bennis Tuesday 17 June : Group from the Naqchabandia Zaouia directed by Noureddine Tahiri Wednesday 18 June : Group Rouh of Meknes directed by Yassine Habibi, with Sufi sama’a Thursday 19 June : Group from the Harrakia Zaouia, Rabat F Friday 20 June : Group from the Ouazzania Zaouia of Ouazzane directed by Fouad Ouazzani Saturday 21 June : Group from the Hamdouchia Zaouia of Fez directed by Abderrahim Amrani
For more information about the Fes Festival of Sacred World Music or Fes Tours Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on April 16, 2014 at 6:55 AM||comments (0)|
This May 15th – 17th, 2014, the foothills of Jajouka, Morocco and home of Bachir Attar will play host to the very first festival featuring the Master Musicians of Jajouka. Attendees of the festival will have the opportunity to experience the enchanting trance like sound and magical music of the Jajouka Maalimin accompanied by Bass player and producer extraordinaire, Bill Lawell. The rich diversity of the repertoire of the Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar boasts ancient and new renditions whereby Jazz, Dub and experimental improvisations by Bill Laswell on Bass merge merge together on the center stage. The Master Musicians of Jajouka is a group led by Bachir Attar, from the village of Jajouka near Ksar-el-Kebir in the southern Rif Mountains of Northern Morocco.
The inhabitants of this small village are from the Ahl Sherif ("the saintly") tribe. The Attar clan of Jajouka is the founding family of Jajouka and keepers of one of the world’s oldest and most unique surviving musical traditions. The music and secrets of Jajouka have been passed down through generations from father to son, by some accounts for as long as 1,300 years.
The musicians of Jajouka are taught from early childhood a complex music that is unique to Jajouka, until they finally become malims or masters. They possess baraka, (good luck) or the blessing of Allah, which gives them the power to heal, and the endurance required to play some of the most intense and complex music around. The Master Musicians of Jajouka are all descendants of one family, the Attars. Attar is a Sufi watchword and a deeply mystical name meaning "perfume maker". Brian Jones discovered the Jajouka sound and recorded the group in the 1960’s. He introduced their music globally through the world music scene, via the recording "Brian Jones presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka". Since then, the band has collaborated with monumental musicians such as the Rolling Stones, Patti Smith, Maceo Parker, Ornette Coleman, John Zorn and Howard Shore.
The Master Musicians of Jajouka have toured internationally for over thirty years while keeping Jajouka as their home. In 2013, "The Road to Jajouka - a Benefit Album” was released on Howe Records featuring dozens of well-known musicians. The Master Musicians of Jajouka were official musicians of the Sultans and Kings of Morocco, hired and fully devoted to perfecting their art. In modern day times without this form of patronage and with the decline of many recorded formats and traditional record companies, the music of the Master Musicians is endangered of disappearing completely.
About the Master of Musicians Instrumentation: Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar the band led by Bachir Attar is comprised of eight to ten musicians who master a variety of unique instruments such as the Ghaita (similar to an Oboe), that they play in unison, with the occasional improvisations by Bachir, the band leader; the Tebel ( double-sided goat skin percussion played with two sticks ) ; the Lira (a bamboo flute ); the Guembri, ( three-stringed lute ) and call-response vocals. The current band also features a violin player.
Festival Performance Dates in Jajouka: May 17th & 18th, 2014
Festival Performers: The Master Musicians of Jajouka led by Bachir Attar & Special Guest Bill Lazwell
Tickets to the Master of Musicians of Jajouka Festival Include:
- Moroccan three course dinner made exclusively of organic produce in traditional village setting - For Category 2 tickets garden accommodations at Bachir's Attar’s house Location of Jajouka: Jajouka is approximately 1 ½ Hours from Chefchaouen and 3 hours from Tangier. The Festival and the village of Jajouka can be accessed by private transport, train or taxi.
For more information about a tour to Chefchaouen region and the Master of Musicians of Jajouka Festival contact: +212 624 843 839 or www.jajouka.com Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate