Tag Archives: Moroccan Festivals

2014 Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, Morocco

The Conference of the Birds: Journey of Cultures

Saharan dancer, Fes 2103

Saharan dancer, Fes 2103

Fes Festival of Sacred Music, one of the world’s great Festivals, brings together an extraordinary range of musicians, poets and lovers of inspiring word and sound from around the world.

As well as brilliantly produced ticketed events held in wonderful venues around the Imperial city,  the Festival also offers free events ranging from heavingly popular concerts in Bab Boujloud square to intimate Sufi Nights under the stars till late each evening.


Image by Peter Sis.

This year’s Festival theme- Conference of the Birds- Journey of Cultures- celebrates a 12th century allegorical poem by Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar,  An inspiration to artists across the centuries, the epic describes the Sufi path to enlightenment through a quest undertaken by the birds of the world in search of their true ruler.  A specially commissioned event on this theme will  open the Festival at the stunning palace forecourt, Bab al Makina.

Also honoured  will be Nelson Mandela, with a tribute  featuring Youssou N’Dour and Johnny Clegg; and four morning forums  Giving Soul to Globalisation: The politics of Nelson Mandela at Batha Museum.


Coumbane Mint Ely Warakane

Intimate afternoon concerts in Batha Museum’s dappled courtyard are a highlight of Fes Festival. This year’s include Spanish maestro Jordi Savall with Ensemble XX1 Hesperion (Spain) in Mare Nostrum and the welcome return of the extraordinary Mauritanian  griot Coumbane Mint Ely Warakane presenting Poetry of the Sands and Words of the Nomads with India’s Raza Khan.


Last year I was fortunate to cover Festival events with  The View from Fes:  links to that coverage are below.

I look forward immensely to this year’s edition.


Fes Festival of Sacred Music 2014

Friday 13 – Sunday 21 June

Friday 13 June

  • 9pm at Bab al MakinaConference of the Birds: Journey of Cultures

Specially commissioned by the Spirit of Fes Foundation. Concept and Artistic Direction: Faouzi Skali and Layla Benmouss, Director: Thierry Poquet, Musical composition: Arah Sarkechik

Saturday 14 June

  • 9am-12.30 at Batha Museum: Forum- The Politics of Nelson Mandela (first 4 mornings)
  • 4pm at Batha Museum: Sacred Chants of Provence (France)
  • 9pm at Bab al Makina: Robert Alagna with Mediterraneo, specially commissioned for the Fes Festival
  • 10.30pm at Place Boujloud The Arab Orchestra of Barcelona -free
  • 11pm at Dar Tazi Sufi nights (each night -free)

Sunday 15 June

Image of Youssou N’Dour from http://www.afropop.org

  • 4pm at Batha Museum: Altan Ensemble (Ireland)
  • 9pm at Bab al Makina: Youssou N’Dour and Johnny Clegg, in a tribute to Nelson Mandela
  • 10.30pm at Place Boujloud to be confirmed-free


Monday 16 June

  • 4pm Batha Museum: Bardic Divas of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
  • 8pm and 10pm at Dar Adiyel: Melhoun from Fes and Meknes
  • 8pm and 10pm at Dar Mokri: Palestinian concert
  • 9pm at Batha Museum: Tomatito (Spain), with Omar Bouzmaazought (Morocco)
  • 10.30pm at Place Boujloud: Ouled Al Bouazzaoui – Song of Aieta-free

Tuesday 17 June

  • 4pm Batha Museum: Mare Nostrum with Jordi Savall and Ensemble XX! Hesperion (Spain)
  • 8pm and 10pm at Dar Adiyel: Leili Anvar: The Canticle of the Birds, a musical lecture (France/Iran)
  • 8pm and 10pm at Dar Mokri: Choir St Ephraim (Hungary)
  • 9pm  Batha Museum: Rokia Traoré (Mali) with Beautiful Africa
  • 10.30pm at Place Boujloud:  Saad Lamjered – free

HERE is my report on Saad Lamjered in concert at Volubilis International Festival 2013

Wednesday 18 June

Zakkir Hussein

  • 8pm and 10pm at Dar Adiyel: Wang LI (China) and Amazigh Poets  (Morocco)
  • 8pm and 10pm at Dar Mokri: Sacred Chants Ladino with Mor Karbasi
  • 9pm at Batha Museum: Zakir Hussain: tabla and bansuri flute (India)
  • 10:30 pm at Place Boujloud: Abidat Rma and Said Mouskir -free
Thursday 19 June

  • 4pm at Batha Museum: Luzmilla Carpio (Bolivia))
  • 9pm at Bab al Makina: Jewish- ArabAndalusian music
  • 10.30pm at Place Boujloud: Ribab Fusion Chant Amazigh Souss- free

Friday 20 June

  • 4pm at Batha Museum: Palais Royale Ensemble (France)
  • 9pm at Bab al Makina:  Arabic Music
  • 10.30pm at Place Boujloud: Wael Jassar (Lebanon) -free

Saturday 21 June

  • 10am at Batha Museum :  Ustad F. Wasifuddin Dagar (India)
  • 4pm at Batha Museum: Raza Khan and Coumbane Mint Ely Warakane (India and Mauritania) with Poetry of the Sands and Words of the Nomads


  • 9pm at Bab al Makina: Buddy Guy’s Legend with the Hot 8 Brass Band of New Orleans (USA)
  • 10.30pm at Place Boujloud: Saida Sharaf Chant Hassani -free

Tickets: available here at the Festival website

Free events include nightly 10.30 pm concerts at Bab Boujloud and 11pm Sufi nights ar Dar Tazi are free.

LINKS to my coverage of Moroccan festivals 2013 on The View From Fes

Fes Festival of Sacred Music 2013-1

 Fes Festival of Sacred Music 2013- 2

Fes Festival of Sacred Music 2013- 3

Shem’sy- National Circus School of Morocco

Volubilis International Festival, Meknes 2013


Volubilis International Festival, Meknes 2013

Volubilis International Festival, July 2013

 Here is my coverage of Volubilis International Festival, originally written for The View from Fes, Morocco’s foremost English language blog on cultural and current affairs. 

The Music is Pumping      &     Small but Perfectly Formed



Clambering into the crew bus after the tumultuous finale of the festival was an event in itself.

Screaming, mobbing fans  pressed against the windows like a scene from Don’t Look Back. Or HELP.

The crew onboard joking that the mob was after me;  with everyone knowing it was the local uberpopstar in the front seat they were screaming for.

On the way I’d run into music journalist Peter Culshaw, whose newly released biography of Manu Chao, Clandestino is an inspiration in participative  journalism. I read it on my Kobo by candlelight in the back of a van somewhere down the road.

It was a great season. I’ll be back.

     *                 *                   *                      *                        *

My coverage of the Fes Festival of Sacred Music, 2103, also on The View from Fes   

Covering Fes Sacred Music Festival (3)


Thanks to The View from Festhe  premier English language blog on cultural and current affairs,  for having me as guest writer for the Fes Festival of Sacred Music, 2103  

This is the third of four posts my coverage of one of the extraordinary free evening concerts held in Place Boujloud

More here, here and here 

Abdallah al Makhtoubi and Mohammed Bajeddoub

20130615_004736 (2)

Dominique A and Nass El Ghiwane

For inspiration to join the Festival of Sacred Music  2014, here is 

The View From Fes introduction to its theme: Conference of the Birds

Coverage of Volubilis International Festival, Meknes 

Covering Fes Festival of Sacred Music, 2013 -1

Director of the Opening Event

Covering the night shift along with the throng in the vast and booming Place Boujloud, learning on the run how to take photos in the full glare of smokey stage lighting, sorting and writing in dim late night coffee shops on deadline-beating all-nighters, lazy afternoons  in the delicious sound garden of the Batha Museum… a grand assignment indeed.

Here’s the first of three posts linking to my coverage  of the event

Hamid Kasri and crew

Hamadcha Sufi Brotherhood, Dj ClicK, Coumbane Mint Ely Warakane



MORE coverage of Fes Festival of Sacred Music here and here

and the Shem’sy National Circus School’s participation here

Coverage of the Volubilis International Festival, Meknes, Morocco

Thanks to The View from Fes, the premier English language blog on Moroccan cultural and current affairs, for hosting me as guest writer for the the Fes Festival of Sacred Music,  2103.

For information about the 2014 Fes Festival of Sacred Music, check out The View From Fes excellent introduction to the theme Conference of the Birds.

More photos in my Facebook albumMorocco