fes

Fes Festival of World Sacred Music 2018

24th edition: 22-30 June 2018

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Festival Facts

The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music provisional programme for 2018 should be available in November. The theme is Ancestral Knowledge. Contact us to be added to our mailing list.

Accommodation

Check our site here to see the type of accommodation you can expect in the Fez medina. We can advise on making sure you make a booking close to Festival venues. Let us know your dates, bed arrangements and budget, and we will send you some options.

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 usually no or few chairs at the Nights in the Medina or Sufi Nights venues, but carpets on the floor.
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. If you buy a pass, you automatically have A seats.
  • There are side screens at Bab al Makina, one on each side of the stage.
  • A pass to all events including the Fes Forum  costs 305 Euros and automatically includes A seats for concerts at Bab al Makina.
  • Tickets and passes will be made available in December/January. Buy through Fez Riads and we will deliver them free of charge to your guesthouse if you are staying in the medina; other arrangements will be made if you are staying elsewhere. Contact us for details at fezriads@gmail.com.

Venues

  • Afternoon concerts are held in the Jnan Sbil Gardens.

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 Prefecture Hall in Batha opposite the Batha Museum (blue 1).
  • Sufi Nights at 23h00 are free of charge and are held in the garden of Dar Tazi, the Festival headquarters (blue 2).
  • The Fes Forum: Held on the first three mornings of the festival, this will take place at the Prefecture Hall in Batha, opposite the Batha Museum.

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. In the second half of June, you can expect temperatures of at least 35 degrees C.
  • Seats are not particularly comfortable. If necessary, bring a cushion. In some venues, there are no chairs, but carpets on the floor to sit on.
  • Consider taking a trip or arranging an activity while you are in Fez. 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.

 

HERE IS THE PROGRAMME FOR THE 2017 FESTIVAL (not 2018).

It’s given here as an example of what to expect. When the 2018 programme is released, it will be published here. For a wrap of the 2017 festival, see The View from Fez blog.

PROGRAMME 2017

Water and the Sacred was the theme of this 23rd Fes Festival. Water is the symbol of purification in the universal sacred and in mystical poetry and in itself is an invitation to take care of the earth that nurtures us. In addition, tribute is paid to China and its ancestral heritage.

 

FRIDAY 12 MAY

21h00 – Bab Al Makina

Spirit on the Water – premiere 2017

This epic poetic saga is a hymn to water, source of life and inspiration for the sacred. From the Flood to the myths of antiquity, we sail towards the origins of humanity. This is an extravaganza of images and of music, a magnificent ecological fable with artists from Kuwait, Egypt, Palestine, Greece, France, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, India, Iran, China and Mali.

Alain Weber,  Artistic Direction / premiere

 

SATURDAY 13 MAY

09h00-15h00 Prefecture Hall, Batha

FES FORUM:       Terms of the Debate

Water and its spiritual dimensions

 

16h30 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Marc Vella – The Nomadic Pianist – France

A virtuoso goes to meet men and women to reveal their beauty and entrance us.

 

19h00 – Riad Dar Bensouda

Lingling Yu – Pipa lute – China

In her imitative playing, Lingling Yu demonstrates the harmony of nature – nature incarnated in Chinese philosophy as the fundamental duality of Yin and Yang.

Limited places

Tribute to China

 

20h00 – Boujloud Square – Free concert

Said Guissi – Issam Kamal

 

21h00 – Bab Al Makina

Wu Opera of Zhejiang – from the origins of Chinese opera

The ancestor of the celebrated Peking Opera is none other than the Wu Opera, originally from Zhejiang. This enthralling spectacle is set along rivers and seas where djinns, serpents, dragons and even the Monkey King do battle.

Tribute to China: in partnership with the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China

 

22h00 – Boujloud Cinema

Bel Leil Al Zaman – Nile Café – Egypt

The Boujloud Cinema is transformed into a festive meeting place for old and young as a café in the village of Sai’di. This is a tribute to the Baladi culture featuring the Musicians of the Nile, tanoura dancers and a magician.

Free of charge / In partnership with the French Institute in Fes

 

23h00 – Dar Tazi – Free Sufi Night

Ouazzania Brotherhood: Mourad El Hachimi – Fes

 

SUNDAY 14 MAY

09h00-14h00 Prefecture Hall, Batha

FES FORUM:               Water and the demands of sustainable development

 

16h30 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Marlui Miranda – the Soul of the Amazon Forests – Brazil

In an indigenous language, the word Ihu means sound … all that penetrates our soul through our hearing, including the voices of spirits and of the magic entities of the forest.

 

18h30 – Boujloud Cinema

Caravan of Love in Ethiopia: film by Marc Vella and Hubert Lagente

As he goes wandering, pianist Marc Vella tells of his encounters with those who are working towards living better together. In the presence of the artist.

In French, 2016, 60min / Free of charge / In partnership with the French Institute in Fes

 

18h30 – Dar Adiyel

Inouraz – Berber song, poetry and dance from the Souss – Morocco

From the plains of the Souss, the Inouraz Ensemble (meaning ‘hope’ in Tamazight) weaves Berber melodies with sub-Saharan rhythms, bringing fresh sounds to ancient traditions.

 

20h00 – Boujloud Square – Free concert

Souad Hassan – Riad Al ‘Omr

 

21h00 – Bab Al Makina

Songhai – from Andalusian gypsy to Mandinka traditions – Spain/Mali/UK

The return of a legendary collaboration between kora-player Toumani Diabaté and virtuosos José Miguel and Juan Carmona, representing a ‘new flamenco’.

 

22h00 – Boujloud Cinema

Bel Leil Al Zaman – Nile Café – Egypt

Tribute to the Baladi culture of the Nile.

Free of charge / In partnership with the French Institute in Fes

 

23h00 – Dar Tazi – Free Sufi Night

Tijaniyya Brotherhood: Al Anouar Zaouia Idrissia – Moulay Idriss Zerhoune

 

 

MONDAY 15 MAY

09h00-14h00 Prefecture Hall, Batha

FES FORUM:                Water in fragile ecosystems

 

16h30 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Salman El Ammari & Al Maas Ensemble – The Art of the Sea – Kuwait

Borrowing from the Arabised cultures of African and Indo-Iranian origins, the poetic repertoire of the pearlfishers of the Gulf States is the fruit of a long voyage.

 

18h00 from Jnan Sbil Garden to Boujloud Square

Arestes e S’Urtzu Pretistu – Ancient rite of the village of Sorgono – Sardinia, Italy

Half bestial and half ghostly, the creatures you meet in this parade wear the masks of our ancient beliefs. Life, death and rebirth.

Free of charge / With the Mandra Olisai Cultural Association

 

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA I: Flowing rivers

19h00 – Dar Adiyel

The Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun – Musical reading – Morocco

Excerpts from the latest novel by this Moroccan writer read in his presence by Nicolas Pignon and accompanied by Driss El Maloumi and his musicians.

In French

 

20h00 – Boujloud Square – Free concert

Oussama Abdedayem – Nizar Idil

 

20h00 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Eric Bibb – Origin of the Blues – USA

Master of the acoustic guitar, Eric Bibb conjures up the famous Delta Blues of Mississippi played by black hobo bluesmen. Today he finds a parallel between the deportation of slaves and the new exiles of the 21st century. With Michael Brown (guitar, violin, banjo).

 

22h00 – Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef Cultural Complex

Hibridos – a great cinematic ritual: from the sacred Amazon to Afro-Brazilian religions – Brazil

Filmmaker Vincent Moon and explorer Priscilla Telmon take us to the realm of water gods and the mysteries of Brazilian syncretism. An immersive experiment.

 

22h00 – Dar Adiyel

Water’s Fiancée by Tahar Ben Jelloun – Musical reading – Morocco

Second reading, in the presence of the author. Reader Nicolas Pignon and virtuoso Driss El Maloumi evoke the richness of water and its links with femininity.

In French

 

22h00 – Boujloud Cinema

Bel Leil Al Zaman – Nile Café – Egypt

Tribute to the Baladi culture of the Nile

Free of charge / In partnership with the French Institute in Fes

 

23h00 – Dar Tazi – Free Sufi Night

Hassania Brotherhood – Cheikh Ma El Aïnin & Fatima Charii – Guelmime

 

TUESDAY 16 MAY

10h00 – Dar Batha

Workshop with Marc Vella – There’s no such thing as a wrong note – France

Proof that music is the ‘shortest way to harmonise with the self and with life’. Novices and musicians discover that there are no wrong notes.

Registration at the Foundation for a limited number of places. / In partnership with the French Institute in Fes

 

14h00 – Dar Batha

Of Gods and Men by Xavier Beauvois: film screening

Awarded the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, this film covers the assassination in 1996 of seven Cistercian monks in Algeria and bears witness to their high spiritual demands. In the presence of Michael Lonsdale.

In French and Arabic, 2010, 120 minutes / Free of charge / In partnership with the French Institute in Fes.

 

16h30 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Stelios Petrakis Quartet – The Art of the Cretan Lyra – Greece

The small lyra fiddle is the fountain of youth of Cretan music. Its delicate yet joyous sounds draw us into the whirl of an ancient village dance.

 

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA II: ISLAND WORLDS

19h00 – Dar Adiyel

Taziri – An encounter on Mediterranean shores – France/Morocco

Taziri is Mediterranean blues, a musical bridge between the northern and southern shores of our common sea.’ String player Titi Robin plays with Mehdi Nassouli, a gnawa musician who has worked internationally.

 

20h00 – Boujloud Square – Free concert

Imane Karkibou – Nabil Boulboul

 

20h00 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Lankum – Traveller Ballads – Ireland

From an island where moors, cliffs and the expanse of the sea sharpen a sense of rebellion, voyage and humour, musical jubilation must spring up!

 

22h00 – Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef Cultural Complex

Arestes e S’Urtzu Pretistu – Ancient rite of the village of Sorgono – Sardinia, Italy

By the light of the moon, a frightening procession of wild animals looms. Incantations and masked dances from a village in Sardinia immediately take us back to the origins of our pastoral soul. Life, death and rebirth.

With the Mandra Olisai Cultural Association

 

22h00 – Dar Adiyel

Taziri – An encounter on Mediterranean shores – France/Morocco

See above

 

22h00 – Boujloud Cinema

Bel Leil Al Zaman – Nile Café – Egypt

Tribute to the Baladi culture of the Nile.

Free of charge / In partnership with the French Institute in Fes

 

23h00 – Dar Tazi – Free Sufi Night

Harrakiya Brotherhood – Slimani Ensemble – Taza

 

WEDNESDAY 17 MAY

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA III: Springs in the city

 

16h30 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Gardens East and West – Botanical Breath – France

Pianist Patrick Scheyder looks at the garden as a place of tranquillity and dialogue. With Michael Lonsdale and Madyan Matar, the music tells stories that pose questions about the plant kingdom and our place in it.

In French / In partnership with the French Institute in Fes

 

18h30 – Dar Adiyel

Mchouga-Maboul – Theatre, tales and storytelling – Morocco/France

Artist Simon Elbaz, endowed with his French-Jewish-Arab background, could very well have been possessed by his character Maboul as he worked on bringing his village memories to life.

In French and Moroccan Arabic

 

20h00 – Boujloud Square – Free concert

Diego Cortes – Hamid Kasri

 

20h00 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Yasmine Hamdan – Pop icon – Lebanon

The rebellious princess of the Arab music scene in radical transformation presents her latest album, Al Jamilat. On the programme: sensual theatrics, riffs on long-necked guitars and electro-folk of a mysterious elegance.

 

22h00 – Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef Cultural Complex

Labyrinths – Made in situ in Fes – Morocco/France

‘Explorers of the sacred’ Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon film in the labyrinth that is the Fes medina. With the Hamadcha Sufi Brotherhood, directed by Abderrahim Amrani Marrakchi.

Premiere

 

23h00 – Boujloud Cinema

Bel Leil Al Zaman – Nile Café – Egypt

Tribute to the Baladi culture of the Nile

Free of charge / In partnership with the French Institute in Fes

 

23h00 – Dar Tazi – Free Sufi Night

Aïssawa Brotherhood – Abdellah Yaakoubi, with the Sakaliya Brotherhood (song)

 

THURSDAY 18 MAY

16h30 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Beloved Ganges – Harmony of voices – France/India

Part of the musical project Resonance by Samuel Cattiau (countertenor) and Quentin Dujardin (guitar), this is an encounter between reinvented ancient music and the Vedic tradition making sound the source of all manifestation. With Pelva Naik (dhrupad song) and Sanjay Agle (tambour pakhawaj).

 

18h00 – Palais Amani

Claire Zalamansky –  ¡Ay Petenera! Sephardic song and gypsy memories – France/Spain

With a background in Judeo-Spanish song, Claire Zalamansky brings to life with her words and melodies the story of La Petenera, the flamenco gypsy singer and dancer of Cadiz.

 

20h00 – Boujloud Square – Free concert

Sy Mehdi – Stati

 

21h00 – Bab Al Makina

Vicente Amigo – Poeta – Spain

One of the great masters of flamenco guitar pays tribute to that favoured son of Andalusia, the poet Rafael Alberti. The magnificence of the sea is reflected in this bold concerto for flamenco guitar and symphony orchestra directed by Aziz El Acchab.

 

23h00 – Dar Tazi – Free Sufi Night

Hamadcha Brotherhood: Abderrahim Amrani Marrakchi, with the Chadiliya Brotherhood (song)

 

FRIDAY 19 MAY

16h30 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Barbaric Violins – Epic World-Folk – Bulgaria/Mongolia/France

Barbaric Violins reinvent traditional music in the form of an electric road movie through fanciful lands from the banks of the Danube to the Mongolian steppes.

 

18h00 – Dar Batha

Le Matrouz – film by Simon Elbaz and Annie Brunschwig

This documentary, screened in the presence of the filmmakers, tells of a personal and artistic journey from a village in Morocco to Paris. A poetic manifesto for peace!

In French and Arabic, 2010, 46 min / In partnership with the French Institute in Fes

 

20h00 – Boujloud Square – Free concert

Fnayer – Ahouzar

 

21h0 – Bab Al Makina

Izlan – Songs of Moroccan Women

This is a vibrant tribute to the artistic characteristics of the traditional Moroccan woman, holder of nature’s secrets. From Andalusian music to Amazigh poetry, we journey from the Rif Mountains to the plains of the Souss, from Sahraoui tradition to Judeo-Arab culture.

Premiere

 

23h00 – Dar Tazi – Free Sufi Night

Naqshbandiyya Brotherhood: Fes Voices

 

SATURDAY 20 MAY

16h30 – Jnan Sbil Garden

Aziz Sahmaoui – Cuban Project – Morocco/Cuba

Singer and guembri-player Aziz Sahmaoui is a conduit for a sacred Africa inhabited by its turbulent gods, from the shores of Mogador to the Caribbean archipelago. With Harold Lopez-Nussa on piano.

 

20h00 – Boujloud Square – Free concert

Cheb Rayan

 

21h00 – Bab Al Makina

Magida El Roumi –  Lebanon

The embodiment of hope, the great Lebanese singer Magida El Roumi is embedded in her native land and in the conscience of her people. Like a great cedar tree with spreading branches, she protects places and hearts across the world.

 

23h00 – Dar Tazi – Free Sufi Night

Al Hadra Zaylachiya: Jamila Beni’aich – Assilah

 

 

PROGRAMME FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES

This programme has been put together especially for the schoolchildren of Fes and families attending the Festival.

In partnership with the French Institute in Fes

 

The Children of the Nile – film by Aurélie Chauleur

Seen through the eyes of Raouda and Bastoud, two children from the large family of Mohamed Mourad, leader of the well-known Musicians of the Nile, the film explores daily life in the suburbs of Luxor.

In French and Arabic, 2013, 46 min.

 

Nile Café – dance, music and magic – Egypt

The Musicians of the Nile give voice to poetry with their expert playing of the rababah, a fiddle made with horsehair, coconuts and fish skin from the Nile. With a flurry of trills, they accompany the tanoura dance that goes back to the dervishes of Konya and Aleppo, the traditional stick dance (Raks Al-Tahtib) and the tricks of magician Mohammad Mustafa Bakhit.