fes

Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

21st edition: 22-30 May 2015

Fest 2015 poster 

The theme of the 2015 Festival is Fes: an African Reflection. It focuses on the the travels of Hassan al Wazzan, also known as Leo the African, as well as on Sidi Ahmed Tijani, the great Sufi master who is buried in Fez. The programme is now available in English. You will shortly be able to buy tickets here.  If required, we will deliver tickets to your hotel.

Fez Riads can help you with accommodation and advise on guesthouses close to Festival venues.

Scroll down this page for more information about the Festival.
 

FES FESTIVAL OF WORLD SACRED MUSIC

21st edition

 Friday 22 – Saturday 30 May 2015

Provisional Programme

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 travellers 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 romancespeteneras 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.
 
  

Festival Facts

Venues

    • Afternoon concerts are held in the garden of the Batha Museum (map reference blue 1). There is no afternoon concert on Wednesday.

batha museum

  • Big evening concerts are held at Bab al Makina, the open-air parade ground in front of the Royal Palace. It’s off the western edge of this map, across Boujloud Square.

 

Bab-Al-Makana-Paco

 

  • Free concerts are held each evening at Boujloud Square, close to Bab Boujloud.
  • Nights in the Medina concerts (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) are held in smaller venues including the music conservatory Dar Adiyel (blue 5), Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef Cultural Complex (blue 4) and the Batha Museum (blue 1).
  • Sufi Nights are held in the garden of Dar Tazi, the Festival headquarters (blue 2).
  • Medina Mornings are new this year: venues to be confirmed.
  • The Fes Forum is held on the first four mornings of the festival (ie Saturday to Tuesday) at the Batha Museum. Most of the proceedings are in French, but there is simultaneous translation into English and Arabic. You may ask questions in English as most of the panel members speak it.

 

Seating and Ticketing

    • Seats are not reserved. Get to the venue in plenty time if you want a good seat.
    • Seats are raked at Bab al Makina; elsewhere they are on the flat. There are no chairs at the Nights in the Medina or Sufi Nights venues, but carpets on the floor. At the Batha Museum, there is some seating on carpets on the floor in front of the stage in addition to the chairs.
bab al makina plan

Plan of Bab al Makina. The stage is on the left.

  • At Bab al Makina, you can buy A or B seats. A seats are located closer to the stage; B seats towards the back of the auditorium.
  • There are side screens at Bab al Makina, one on each side of the stage.
  • As an indication, a pass to all events in previous years has cost 300 Euros and automatically includes A seats for concerts at Bab al Makina.
  • You will be able to buy tickets on this site as soon as booking opens. Payment is via Paypal, using your credit card. You do not need a Paypal account to use this efficient and safe system. Tickets are electronic and should be printed out at home. They can then be exchanged at the concert venues (times strictly limited, and to be published soon). You only need to do this exchange once. If buying tickets for a number of people, only one person need collect the tickets.
  • If required, we will collect your tickets for you and deliver them to your guesthouse in time for your arrival. The charge for this service is Dh500 per group of tickets.

Tips

  • Weather can be variable: it can rain, be very cold and windy at Bab al Makina, or stiflingly hot. It’s best to bring layers, something waterproof, a sunhat and a fan.
  • Seats are not particularly comfortable. If necessary, bring a cushion.
  • Consider taking a trip or arranging an activity on Wednesday as there is no afternoon concert. You’ll find some ideas here. Contact us to book.
  • Reserve your accommodation in good time as guesthouses closest to festival venues fill up quickly. Getting to the venues is always on foot.
  • Many restaurants serve dinner early and/or later so that you can attend evening concerts. Keep an eye on the What’s Hot! page on this site.
  • Who was Leo the African? Amin Maalouf’s book is a great introduction.
  • Leo