African and Middle Eastern musicians are coming to the 2018 Visa For Music (VFM) in Rabat, Morocco from November 21-24.
By Zakaria Wadghiri
Rabat – VFM is directed by Brahim EL Mazned, who is also the artistic director of Timitar Festival of World Music.
Fondation Hiba, founded by Hit Radio CEO Younès Boumehdi, and Association Atlas Azawan, an Anna Lindh Foundation association, sponsor the event in partnership with Andalusian classical singer Nabyla Maan.
VFM has both economic and cultural aspects and a bit of tourism too.
Venues are all within walking distance of each other and they are all historical sites in Rabat. The event features every style of Moroccan music from classical tarab music to emerging rap and alt music.
Although the event touches on tourism, no tourism or cultural public body sponsored it. The only official sponsor is the Rabat Governorate (Wilaya).
VFM is not a profit-driven event but a structuring project for the local music sector. The point is to create a music market in Africa and the MENA region.
Many musical events take place in the Kingdom but most focus on the importation of musicians, which does not help the local music scene. Another of the event is to help Moroccan musicians export themselves.
Inter-cultural exchange is a necessary condition for artists to export themselves and hence the idea of VFM makes sense. African and Europeans radios will be present. The 2017 VFM did not receive funding from the ministry of culture, although they made promises to fund the 2018 event, according to the organizers.
The official list of performers includes:
- Tania Saleh – Lebanon
- Thee Legacy – South Africa
- Ooldouz Poori – Iran
- The Brooks – Canada
- Serkan Uyar – Turkey/France
- Pigment – Reunion
- Mounira Mitchala – Chad
- Moonaya – Senegal
- Petit Kandia – Guinea Mokhtar Gania and Africa Experience – Morocco
- Mbokka Project – Morocco/Senegal/Mali/Ivory Coast
- Adango Salicia Zulu – Gabon
- Afro Asian Sound Act – South Korea
- Omar and the Eastern Power – South Korea/Morocco
- Fellas The Chairman – South Africa
- Guedra Guedra – Morocco
- Marockin’ Brass – Morocco/Belgium
The festival will see the launch of the new collaborative music website auxsons.com in the presence of Amandine Saumonneau, coordinator of the Paris-based international musicians network Zone Franche.
Visa for Music started in 2013 to bring Afro-Middle Eastern artists to the global stage, through a series of performances, showcases, conferences, speed-meetings, workshops and trainings.