By Nidal Chebbak
By Nidal Chebbak
Fez – The 18th edition of the World Sacred Music Festival of Fez opened on Friday. This year’s edition, which will take place until June 16th is organized under the theme “Re-enchanting the World”. The World Sacred Music Festival of Fez is one of Morocco’s most prominent festivals that celebrate musical diversity and cultural richness.
Different nations are represented by their unique musical styles that take the audience into a spiritual journey for days. It is an occasion for different sacred musical styles to come into harmony and make the audience transcend all the worldly conflicts in an atmosphere of peace and co-existence.
This year’s edition will honor the great Persian polymath, poet, scientist and philosopher Omar al-Khayyam whose contributions have marked world literature through the many translations and studies on his works and their impact. He is considered the most famous poet of the East through his celebrated Rubáiyát Omar Khayyám where he is believed to have written about a thousand four-line verses or rubaiyat (quatrains). He made fundamental contributions in various fields: Mathematics, astronomy, poetry, religion, and philosophy. His works have always been regarded as out of time and space and could be applied anywhere anytime that searches for a new healthy place for a person’s intellectual and spiritual growth.
The eminent late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish will also be honored at the festival for the rich literary legacy he left behind that embodies the sufferings of the Palestinian people under siege whose every day is a struggle. He lived most of his life in exile but Palestine always lived in him and in his works. His works have been a bridge that made people from around the world sense the Palestinian struggle.
The opening ceremony, which took place on Friday started with a choreography directed by the Algerian choreographer Tony Gatlif and acted by artists from different nationalities from the West and the East.
The second day, June 9 at Batha Museum, Gipsy Sentimento Paganini Ensemble from Hungary will perform pieces that draw from the traditional music of Central Europe. At the same time at Bab l’Makina, Sufi music fans will enjoy a spiritual evening that mixes between the genuine music of the Blues and the Gospel performed by the Arshie Shepp group from USA who will dig deep into their roots.
Sunday, June 10, will be an Arabic night par excellence both in Batha Museum and Bab l’Makina. The audience will be blown away by true Sufi mystical performances by the masters of the Sufi chanting and original Arabic music, such as the master of Sufi chanting in Egypt Sheikh Yassine Touhami, the giant Lebanese singer Wadie Safi along with George Safi, the powerful Tunisian voice Lotfi Bouchnak and the great Indian singer Moukhetyar Ali. The latter will have a concert on Monday, June 11 at Batha Museum where he will perform a collection of timeless songs by an Indian poet names Kabir who is highly esteemed in India for his valuable position in Indian poetic sphere.
In the framework of “Nights in the Medina”, four concerts will be organized on Monday, June 11. The first one will be at Dar al-Maqari where Mahsa & Marjan Vahdat from Iran will perform. The second one will be at Dar Adiyel by the Moroccan Ihsan Rmiqi. The two remaining concerts will be at Batha Museum performed by Mory Djely Kouyaté et Jean-Philippe Rykiel.
Tuesday, June 12, a classical performance with the MITO Settembre Musica from Italia will be given at Batha Museum. The second night of Nights in the Medina will resume by Rabbi Haim Louk and Abderahim Souiri from Morocco in a ceremony that will reflect the reality of convergence and cohesion between the people of one nation, Morocco, despite religious differences. They will both introduce a duet of a collection of songs based on Arabic and Hebrew poetry. At Dar Adiyel, the charming voice of Charifa will perform her Atlas songs that carry a whole culture within. Nour Ensemble from France and Iran will perform a collection of their amazing music just afterwards.
On Wednesday, June 13, the spirit the great late Mahmoud Darwish will be present and honored at Batha Museum through a special theatrical piece entitled “Song of Songs” created by Rodolph Burger to celebrate the eternal impact of Darwish.
Over the week, then, ancient music will prevail in the streets of Fez as concerts will be launched on a daily basis starting from 4 pm. As the opening ceremony features an eminent artist, the closing ceremony will not be any less; the American folk singer, who is considered by many as a legend of American Popular music with a strong voice and a distinctive vocal style, will give a special closing performance at Bab l’Makina.
The ticket price to the festival ranges between 100dh and 600dh depending on the performances.
Detailed Program of the festival:
Friday, June 8, 2012:
At 8.30 pm at Bab l’Makina:Opening Night: A tribute to Omar Khayyam by the Algerian Director and Choreographer Tony Gatlif.
Saturday, June 9, 2012:
At 4 pm at Batha Museum: The Gipsy Sentimento Paganini Ensemble from Hungary.
At 8.30 pm at Bab l’Makina: Arshie Shepp from USA. (A mix of Blues and Gospel)
Sunday, June 10, 2012:
At 4 pm at Batha Museum: the Master of Sufi chanting Sheikh Yasin al-Tuhami.
At 8.30 at Bab l’Makina: Wadie Safi and George Safi, and Lotfi Bouchnak from Tunisia.
Monday, June 11, 2012:
At 4 pm at Batha Museum: Mukhtiyar Ali from India (will perform mystical songs by the great poet Kabir)
From 8 pm to 10 pm at Dar Mokri: Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat Sisters from Iran.
From 9 pm to 10.30 at Dar Adiyel: Ihsane Rmiki from Morocco (Andalusian Mouwachahates).
At 8 pm at Batha Museum: Taraf de Haidouks from Romania.
At 10 pm at Batha Museum : Mory Kouyaté Djely and Jean-Philippe Rykiel from France and Guinea.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012:
At 4 pm at Batha Museum: Classical Performance by MITO Settembre Musica from Italy.
From 8 pm to 10 pm at Dar Mokri: Rabbi Haim Louk and Abderrahim Souiri from Morocco.
From 9 pm to 10 pm at Dar Adiyel: Charifa from the Middle Atlas, Morocco.
At 9 pm at Batha Museum: Nour Ensemble from France and Iran.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012:
From 8 pm to 10 pm at Dar Mokri: Rompesaraguey from Cuba.
From 8 pm to 10 pm at Dar Adiyel: Terra Maire from France.
At 10.30 pm at Cultural Complex Sidi Mohamed ben Youssef : Ibn Arabi Ensemble from Morocco.
Thursday, June 14, 2012:
At 4 pm at Batha Museum: Arabesques Ensemble from France and Spain.
At 8.30 pm at Bab l’Makina: Spiritual Chating by The Sama’a Group.
Friday, June 15, 2012:
At 4 pm at Batha Museum: Sanam Maryi from Pakistan.
At 8.30 pm at Bab l’Makina: Bjork – biophilia from Iceland.
Saturday, June 16, 2012:
At 4 pm at Batha Museum: Anuj Mishra (Kathak Dance) from India.
At 8.30 pm at Bab l’Makina: Joan Baez from USA.