fes

Fes Festival of World Sacred Music 2019

24th edition: 22-30 June 2018

It’s generally agreed that the 2018 festival was successful – certainly the array of artists performing was diverse and there were some superb concerts. For a full report on the festival, see The View from Fez.
Scroll down this page to look at the 2018 programme for an idea of what’s on offer.

Soweto Gospel Choir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soweto Gospel Choir (photograph Omar Chennafi)

 

 

25th edition: 2019

We do not yet know the dates for the 2019 Festival, which will probably be announced in September. However, we can make an educated guess, given the dates for Ramadan. We’d suggest the festival will fall 14-22 June 2019.

 

Festival Facts

This page is NOT the official Festival website. You’ll find that at www.fesfestival.com/2018.

Scroll down past this information for the Festival programme.

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 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 cost 350 Euros in 2018 and automatically includes A seats for concerts at Bab al Makina.
  • Tickets and passes will be available 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 Ibn Danan Synagogue in the Mellah.
  • Sufi Nights at 23h00 are free of charge and are held at Dar Tazi (blue no. 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 (blue 1).

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. We organise our well-loved annual day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Roman site of Volubilis and the pilgrimage town of Moulay Idriss on the Wednesday of the festival, when there are no concerts until the evening. 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, except for the Ibn Danan Synagogue in the Mellah, for which you will probably need a taxi. It’s about 25 minutes’ walk from Batha.
  • 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 closer to the festival.

 

FESTIVAL PROGRAMME 2018 NOTE THIS IS NOT 2019

Friday 22 June

21.00     Bab al Makina                  Opening Concert                                                          A: €60   B: €30

Featuring artists from Morocco and the Arab world, this spectacle evokes in poetry and music the special relationship in Fez between its architecture, craftsmen, Sufi brotherhoods and the arts. These reflections will be enhanced by the thoughts of the great Arab philosophers, both ancient and modern, who were inspired by Greek philosophy.

 

Saturday 23 June

09.00-14.00        Prefecture Hall, Batha: Fes Forum (see programme below)

 

16.30     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                                     

Ensamble Moxos: Baroque Music from the Amazon                                                                                    €20

Bolivian Jesuit Mission – Bolivia

 

21.00     Bab al Makina

Dhafer Youssef: Diwan of Beauty and Odd – Tunisia                                                     A: €60   B: €30

A Tunisian oud player, vocalist and composer, Dhafer Youssef presents his fusion of oriental influences and the urban groove of New York. This is a vibrant encounter between traditional and contemporary influences, a universal call for peace subtly delivered.

 

22.00     Boujloud Square                                                                                                        free

Redouan Al Asmar  -  Zouhir Bahaoui

 

 

23.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                        free

Sufi Night: Hamdushiya Tariqa; Tariqa leaders night brotherhoods from Fez, Assilah, Essaouira Tangier and Tetouan.                                                                                                              

 

Sunday 24 June

09.00-14.00        Prefecture Hall, Batha: Fes Forum (see programme below)

 

Doulce Mémoire – France                                                                                                                                    €20

Religious songs of the Italian Renaissance

21.00     Bab al Makina

Hesperion XXI & Jordi Savall: Ibn Battuta, traveller of Islam                                        A: €50   B: €25

Inspired by the travels of Ibn Battuta, this concert focuses on the second part of his voyage when he visited Constantinople and crossed the Russian steppes to arrive in the heart of Asia, Afghanistan and Sind (today’s Pakistan). Continuing on to India, the Maldives and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), his journey led him to Bengal, Indonesia and China. On his way home to Morocco, he visited Sardinia and El Andalous, before crossing the Sahara and stopping at Timbuctoo.

 

22.00     Boujloud Square                                                                                                                                      free

Outmane Khaloufi  -  Idurar n Tmunit: Younes Fayez

 

23.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                                      free

Sufi Night: Habibiya Tariqa with Yassin Habibi, Meknes

 

 

Monday 25 June

09.00-14.00        Prefecture Hall, Batha: Fes Forum (see programme below)

 

16.30     Jnan Sbil Garden

Orpheus XXI: Music for Life and Dignity                                                                                                          €20

Set up by Jordi Savall, this project promotes the integration of refugee music professionals, allowing them to share their culture. This unique project allows for the discovery, recuperation and valuing of musical heritage from 900-1850.

                                                                                                        

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA I:

18.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                                      free

Liyuanxinlei Art Troupe: Chinese opera from Sichuan

 

21.00     Jnan Sbil Garden

Subhan Ahmed Nizami and Bache Qawwals – Delhi Gharana of Karachi, Pakistan                             €20

Son of great master Ustad Afaq Ahmed Nizami, Subhan Ahmed Nizami trained at the oldest music school on the sub-continent and has been leading this group for 20 years. This concert features classical Hindustani music and includes poems by Hazrat Amir Khusro, Hafiz, Rumi and Allama Mohammad Iqbal.

 

22.00     Ben Youssef Cultural Centre

Teratali Dance – Rajasthan, India                                                                                                                       €15

The Teratali (tera = twelve; tali = rhythms) dancers and singers are like goddesses from the temples of Rajasthan; this most extraordinary performance melds the sacred with daily life. With manjira cymbals attached to their hands and a dagger between their teeth, they perform their ceremonial magic dedicated to the saint, Baba Ramdev.

 

22.00     Dar Adiyel

Jesus Mendez – Spain                                                                                                                                           €15

Flamenco song                 

 

22.00     Boujloud Square                                                                                                                       free

Fatima Tabaamrant  -  Hajib                                                                   

 

23.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                                      free

Sufi Night: Twatiya Tariqa with Mohammed F. Semlali, Fez

 

 

Tuesday 26 June

Workshops: Each workshop is spread over four mornings; the cost is for the four sessions.

10.00     Musical Meditation (1)                                                                                                           €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Japanese Calligraphy workshop (1)                                                                €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Arabic Calligraphy workshop (1)                                                                     €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Overtone singing of Central Asia workshop (1)                                           €100

 

16.30     Jnan Sbil Garden

Shams Ensemble: Origins of Persian Mystical Poetry                                                                                   €20

Master of the tanbur, a long-necked Iranian lute with two or three stings, Kaykhosroh Pournazeri and his Shams Ensemble present classical Persian music including a secular Kurdish repertoire and the ritual music of the religious order, Ahl-e Haqq.

 

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA II

18.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                       free

Liyuanxinlei Art Troupe: Chinese opera from Sichuan

 

18.00     Dar Adiyel

Simon Elbaz: Matrouz                                                                                                                                           €15

A concert in the Jewish Moroccan tradition.

 

20.00     Dar Adiyel                                                                                                                                                  €15

En Chordais

Greek music from Thessalonika

 

21.00    Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                                      €20

3 MA: Mali, Madagascar, Maroc

Three string players play traditional instruments of their countries – Ballaké Sissoko from Mali on the kora, Driss el Maloumi from Morocco on the oud and Rajery from Madagascar on the valiha – and span the whole of Africa. They have played together before in Agadir and Antananarivo.

 

22.00     Dar Adiyel

Rachid Zeroual: Gasba and ney flutes                                                                                                              €15

The artistic and cultural heritage of Morocco is a treasure that we have inherited from our ancestors. Our job is to safeguard it, disseminate it and value it so that it can be handed down to future generations.’ So says Rachid Zeroual, who presents music infused with Amazigh, Roman, African, Arab and Andalous influences.

 

22.00     Ben Youssef Cultural Centre

Tri Pusaka Sakti Ensemble: Dance theatre of Bali                                                                                          €15

One of the greatest theatrical dance groups of Bali presents a concert featuring rich costumes, Gamelan music and intriguing stylised gesture, based on the Hindu sagas of the Ramayana.

 

22.00     Boujloud Square                                                                                                                                      free

Fatima az-Zahra Laaroussi: Sufi Songs from the Nile

 

23.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                                      free

Sufi Night: Aissawaiya Shim & Mukhtara with Muqaddam Hamid Bouhlal, Sidi Kacem

 

 

Wednesday 27 June

10.00     Dar Batha: Musical Meditation (2)                                                                                       €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Japanese Calligraphy workshop (2)                                                                €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Arabic Calligraphy workshop (2)                                                                     €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Overtone singing of Central Asia workshop (2)                                           €100

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA III

18.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                                      free

Liyuanxinlei Art Troupe: Chinese opera from Sichuan

 

18.00     Ibn Danan Synagogue, Mellah

Simon Elbaz: Matrouz                                                                                                                                           €15

A concert in the Jewish Moroccan tradition.

 

18.30     Dar Adiyel

The Firebird, Mystical Music and Poetry                                                                                           €15

Jonathan Dunford on viola gamba, Iyad Haimour on qanoun, ney flute and oud, with Gérard Kurkdjian as narrator, this performance centres on the search for the divine. Ancient Christian writings such as those of St Augustine, as well as the spiritual path of Sufism spanning the Maghreb to Central Asia, provide rich texts and poems often set to music. At the heart is the mystical bird – the simorgh, the dove or the phoenix – that becomes a firebird when consumed by divine passion.

 

21.00     Bab Al Makina

Al-Alaa Al-Andalusiyya: an evening of Fassi Andalusian music                                    A: €50   B: €25

With singers Nabyla Maan, Zainab Afailal, Said Belcadi and Abdelhamid Khizrane with the Arabo-Andalusian Orchestra of Fez led by Mohammed Briouel.

 

22.00     Ben Youssef Cultural Centrre

Tri Pusaka Sakti Ensemble: Dance theatre of Bali                                                                                          €15

(see above)

 

22.00     Boujloud Square                                                                                                                                      free

Muslim

 

23.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                                     

Sufi Night: Derqawiya Tariqa from Immouzer Kandar                                                                                  free

 

 

Thursday 28 June

10.00     Dar Batha: Musical Meditation (3)                                                                                       €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Japanese Calligraphy workshop (3)                                                                €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Arabic Calligraphy workshop (3)                                                                     €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Overtone singing of Central Asia workshop (3)                                           €100

 

16.30     Jnan Sbil Garden

Hariprasad Chaurasia & Diabolus in Musica: Mystical breath                                                                    €20

Hariprasad Chaurasia, master of the bansuri flute, joins the Diabolus in Musica Ensemble that specialises in Gregorian and plain chant in a unique, joyous experience.

 

18.00     Ibn Danan Synagogue

Gerard Edery: Slat-al-Fassyine                                                                                                                            €15

Presenting Hassidic piyutim and nigunim, Gerard Edery was born in Casablanca and raised in Paris and New York. He is a master guitarist and singer and one of the world’s greatest specialists in the music of the Sephardic diaspora.

 

18.30     Dar Batha

Kay d’Astorg: Un Conte d’Orient                                                                                                                        free

Poetry and music on gardens, their benefits and the ancient uses of plants (in French)

 

21.00     Bab al Makina

The Heart of Sufi Africa                                                                                                           A: €50   B: €25

Featuring the Mtendeni Maulid Ensemble of Zanzibar (Rifaï), Sheir Hamid Hossein Ahmad, Sheikh Ghanan and their Ensemble from Upper Egypt (Naqshbandiyya), Papa Djimbara Sow of Senegal (Khadra) and the Tijaniyya of Fes.

 

22.00     Boujloud Square                                                                                                                       free

Hatim Ammor

 

23.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                       free              

Sufi Night: Hadra Shefshawniya, Women’s group from Chefchaouen

 

 

Friday 29 June

10.00     Dar Batha: Musical Meditation   (4)                                                                                     €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Japanese Calligraphy workshop (4)                                                                €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Arabic Calligraphy workshop (4)                                                                     €100

10.00     Dar Batha: Overtone singing of Central Asia workshop (4)                                           €100

 

16.00     Ibn Dayan Synagogue

Gérard Edery: Sephardic Song                                                                                                             €15

 

16.30     Jnan Sbil Garden

St Ephraim Male Choir with Beata Palya – Hungary & Lebanon                                                 €20

Ancient Christian songs written in Syriac by Deacon Ephrem, born around 306 on the Turkish/Syrian border.

 

18.30     Dar Batha                                                                                                                                                   free

A Tale of the Orient by Kay d’Astorg

Poetry and music on gardens, their benefits and the ancient uses of plants (in French)

 

21.00     Bab al Makina

Goran Bregovic and the Orchestra of Marriages and Burials, with the Breton Symphony Orchestra, directed by Aurélien Azan Zielinski: Three Letters from Sarajevo                          A: €50   B: €25

Three Letters from Sarajevo is an ode to the ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans’, a city of multiple beliefs, identities and complex paradoxes. It is an appeal for peace between the religions that have battered and even destroyed the city. The solo violinists, Mirjana Neskovic (Serbian), Zied Zouari (Tunisian) and Gershon Leizerson (Israeli), lead the call for peace.

 

22.00     Boujloud Square                                                                                                                                      free

Cheb Younes

 

23.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                                      free

Sufi Night: Aissawiya Tariqa with Muqaddam Belahcen

 

Saturday 30 June

16.30     Jnan Sbil Garden

Breton Symphony Orchestra: Fest Noz Symphony                                                                                       €20

Featuring Erwan Hamon on flutes and cannon, Janick Martin on accordion, vocalist Annie Ebrel, Gregory Dargent on guitar and oud and Antonin Volson on percussion. Traditional Breton music is energetic and powerful.

 

21.00     Bab al Makina

Soweto Gospel Choir – South Africa                                                                                   A: €60   B: €30

Formed in 2002, this award-winning choir has performed with top artists all over the world. They founded their own charity for AIDS orphans, Nkosi’s Haven Vukani, and are Ambassadors for Nelson Mandela’s 46664 campaign. They are known as ‘South African’s Most Heavenly Voices’.

 

22.00     Boujloud Square                                                                                                                       free

Kader Japonais

 

23.00     Jnan Sbil Garden                                                                                                                       free              

Sufi Night: Sufi Du’aa and Sama’a

 

FES FORUM PROGRAMME: Prefecture Hall, Batha                                                                        pass €20

Moderators: Abdewahed Mountassir, Rachid Andaloussi, Mekki Zouaoui

Conducted in French; English and Arabic simultaneous translation is available via headphones.

23 June: Aesthetics and Symbols

09.00-09.30        Opening

09.30-10.00        Where does ancestral knowledge come from?

Edgar Morin

10.00-11.00        The origin of Homo Sapiens: the case for Jbel Irhoud

Jacques Hublin, Abdelouhed Ben-Ncer

11.00-11.30        Scientific Research: an ancestral art for the well-being of mankind and the                                              environment. A testimonial of 33 years of happiness inspired by challenges                                         and a sense of usefulness to society.

Adnane Remmal

11.30-12.00        Coffee break

12.00-12.30        Heritage written at the time of technological mutations; revival of experience based                   on a conservative career at the National Library of France.

Jacqueline Sanson

12.30-13.00        Moroccan calligraphy: mirror of the sublime

Maat Kabbal

13.00-14.00        Discussion

*   *   *

24 June: Modes and frameworks for life in society

09.00-09.30        The architecture of Al Andalus as a source of inspiration for contemporary                                              architecture

Javier Galvan Gujio

09.30-10.00        ‘As my mother used to say …’

Izza Genini

10.00-10.30        Resilience in desert architecture: considering the future

Salima Naji

10.30-11.00        Restoration of the Saadian Tombs: funding, science and knowledge

Faissal Cherradi

11.00-11.30        Coffee break

11.30-12.00        Festivals and Rituals: shared symbols and memories

Perla Cohen

12.00-12.30        Yesterday’s wisdom for today

Frédéric Calmès

12.30-14.00        Discussion

* * *

25 June: Arts & Creativity

09.00-09.30        Salé: an historical approach to town planning

Nabil Rahmouni

09.30-10.00        Some techniques in composition and form in the traditional music of Morocco

Ahmed Aydoune

10.00-10.30        Artistry, construction of representation and knowledge

Raymond Benhaim

10.30-11.00        World Sacred Music: non-tangible heritage for dialogue between cultures

Gérard Kurkdjian

11.00-11.30        Coffee break

11.30-12.00        Craftsmanship and Islamic Sacred Art: artistry and the power of symbols

Frédéric Calmès

12.00-12.30        Matrouz

Simon Elbaz

12.30-14.00        Discussion