Rabat – A discerning audience was gifted with a special performance during the second day of the Fes Festival of Sufi Culture, the stage at the city’s Jnan Sbil garden brought the Granada-based Sufi group Al-Firdaus Ensemble with Moroccan Sufi Shaykha Ihsan Rmiki. Together, they delved into the art and history of the Sufi tradition.
Percussion instruments, a guitar, cello, a flute and the mesmerizing voice of the Moroccan Rmiki merged seamlessly, putting on a vibrant performance at one of the most spiritual festivals in Morocco.
Enchanted with the smell of eucalyptus trees, the voices of the Sufi virtuosos, and the deeply spiritual performance, the spectator stood in awe before the show, which brought the Sufi way into life.
Founded in 2012, Al-Firdaus Ensemble, led by British Sufi singer Ali Keeler, performed original Sufi songs in Spanish, in remembrance of God and in thanks to the Prophet Mohammed.
The name of the group refers to the highest part of paradise, “Al Firdaus,” reflecting the intercultural nature of the ensemble, formed by musicians from different cultures and countries, including Spain, Morocco, and the United Kingdom.
As they were playing the Sufi tradition of “samaa” music, or “the art of listening,” the musicians open their hearts to “to receive the inspiration of the moment and thus raising the public to a state of contemplation,” said the group in its biography page.
When the music of Al Firdaus Enemble fused with that of Rmiki, the audience were transcended to an even higher state of contemplation.
The awe inspiring Moroccan singer Ihsan Rmiki stood out in many ways. She is one of the few women who holds the title of shaykh and authority to conduct a ritualized concert of samaa sacred music.
With her voice, which dances between groovy to high pitched notes, she spun the stage into a devotional trance, bringing joy for listeners of any faith.
The 10thannual Fes Festival of Sufi Culture will continue to narrate the stories and adventures of Sufism until October 21, making a journey from Morocco to India.
“This year, this wealth will be even more perceptible because the theme is that of a journey from Morocco to India, crossing many Maghreb, Turkish, Iranian, and South-Indian cultures,” said the Festival’s president, Faouzi Skelli.
Since its creation in 2007, the festival has highlighted the mystical ways of Sufism, as it is “one of the richest [pieces of] Islamic heritage. It is the most diverse and the deepest tradition through centuries of history, cultures, and languages,” said the president.