Morocco’s Acclaimed Fez Festival of World Sacred Music Announces 2007 Program

New York, USA –  Now in its 13th year, the he extraordinary Fès Festival of World Sacred Musi brings together celebrated artists from Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and other faiths backgrounds to perform together in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration, offers a glimmer of hope during a dark time.
 The 2007 Festival, which runs Friday June 1 through Saturday June 9, will feature artistic innovations that underscore why the ancient Moroccan city of Fez (Fès in French) is one of the world’s great musical destinations.
 To experience some of this year’s magic moments visitors will have to leave their beds in the wee small hours – because on two mornings during the festival week, the French equestrian maestro Bartabas will be greeting the dawn at the Merinides quarry on his white stallion Le Caravage. Bartabas’ Zingaro troupe performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1996 and the effect of those shows led to an instant invitation to PBS’s The Charlie Rose Show. He and his steed will make their Fès debut with a program titled, appropriately, Sunrise. He will be accompanied by two renowned Sufi musicians – the reed flute (ney) player Kudsi Erguner and the percussionist/vocalist Nezih Uzel.Many festival attendees may choose to stay up all night, because once again Sufi Nights, the enormously popular late night rituals performed by Moroccan Sufi brotherhoods, seem certain to attract big crowds. The hypnotic and ecstatic atmosphere of the Sufi Nights begin at midnight in the Dar Tazi gardens, right in the heart of the Fes medina.

Intimate afternoon concerts take place under the 100-year-old Barbary oak tree at the Batha Museum, where the birds from the surrounding Andalusian gardens often join the performance. Artists performing this year include Iranian classical singer Parissa with the Dastan Ensemble, Mauritanian singer Aïcha Mint Chighaly, and the debut of Misa Flamenca Murciana, a collaboration between Spain’s Piñana Brothers and the Diapason Cuban String Quartet.

Evening performances are staged in the Arabian Nights splendor of the Bab Makina palace courtyard. A major attraction this year is the Afro Rock star Johnny Clegg from South Africa. There will be a Whirling Dervish ceremony with Sufi brotherhoods from Turkey, Qawwali sacred music with Akhtar Sharif Arup from Pakistan, Brazilian vocalist Tania Maria, a performance from the celebrated singer Angelique Kidjo from Benin, and a closing concert with the London Community Gospel Choir.

2007 marks the 800th anniversary of the birth of the great Islamic poet, sage and spiritual guide Jalal ad-Din Rumi, so tributes to his life and work are woven into the festival.

The program is the brainchild of Cherif Khaznadar, a pioneer of world music and one of the most influential Artistic Directors on the scene.

The Festival was launched in 1995, shortly after the Persian Gulf War, in an effort to support understanding among people of all faiths using the most universal means of expression – music. In 2001, the United Nations-proclaimed Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations, the festival was honored by the U.N. as one of seven Unsung Heroes of Dialogue.

Artists in the festival’s history are a virtual who’s-who of global music. They include Miriam Makeba, Salif Keita, Jordi Saval, Monserrat Caballé, Abida Parveen, the Hilliard Ensemble, the ARC Gospel Choir of Harlem, Enrique Morente, Rabbi Haim Louk, Jose Van Dam, Aznach Ensemble of Chechnya, Cristina Branco, Aruna Sairam, the Kabul Ensemble and Youssou N’Dour.


The festival has also spawned two Spirit of Fes tours in the U.S., in 2004 and 2006.


2007 Theme: “Essence of Time, Spirit of Place”

Opening Ceremonies
20h30 Bab Makina Barbara Hendricks (USA) with the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble ( Sweden ) Stabat Mater by Pergolèse, and sacred songs

Saturday, June 2, 2007
16h30 Batha Museum Parissa and the Ensemble Dastan , (Iran)Sufi poems of Jalaludin Rumi, Gol-e Behesht (Les Roses du Paradis)
20h30 Bab Makina Johnny Clegg ( South Africa ) ‘The White Zulu’One life

Sunday, June 3, 2007
04h45 Sunrise concert Mérinides Quarry – Bartabas with his horse Le Caravage, Sufi musicians Nezih Uzel and Kudsi Erguner (France )
16h30 Batha Museum, Coro Gregoriano de Lisboa / Gregorian Choir of Lisbon (Portugal)The Source of Gregorian Chant
20h30 Bab Makina Tania Maria (Brazil) Memories born of cries for liberty, forbidden pride and an ancient culture

Monday, June 4, 2007
16h00 Batha Museum – Claire Zalamansky (France) Sephardic Songs of Spain
20h30 Bab Makina Ayin-i Djem ( Turkey ) with the Kadiria and Mawlawiya Brotherhoods, Whirling Dervishes with dhikr, sama’a and calls of the muezzin, in memory of Jalal ad-Din Rumi, Halakat Jalaludin Rumi

Tuesday, June 5, 2007
16h30 Batha Museum, Aïcha Mint Chighaly ( Mauritania ) Songs of Praise
20h30 Bab Makina, Akhtar Sharif Arup Vâle Qawwalis ( Pakistan ), The official Qawwalis of the patron saint of the city of Lahore

Wednesday, June 6, 2007
04h45 Sunrise Concert Merinides Quarry – Bartabas with his horse Le Caravage, Sufi musicians Nezih Uzel and Kudsi Erguner ( France/Turkey )
20h30 Bab Makina, Sonia Mbarek, Beihdja Rahal, Fadwa El Malki
Arab-Andalous Songs of the Maghreb

Thursday, June 7, 2007
16h30 Batha Museum, The Piñana Brothers and Diapason Cuban string quartet (Spain/Cuba), Misa Flamenca Murciana
20h30 Bab Makina, Angélique Kidjo ( Benin ), African Songs of Love and Hope

Friday, June 8, 2007
16h30 Batha Museum, Vasumathi Badrinathan ( India ), Carnatic vocals – Classical music of South India
20h30 Bab Makina, Jahida Wahib ( Lebanon ), Elias Karam( Syria )
Love, the Sacred and Profane

Saturday, June 9, 2007
16h30 Batha Museum Waed Bouhassoun ( Syria ) Songs of Jalaludin Rumi;
Nâdira Pirmatova ( Uzbekistan ) The voice of Shash-Maqam

Closing Ceremonies

20h30 Bab Makina London Community Gospel Choir (UK)
The Magic of Gospel

Sufi Nights
Ritual and Music from Morocco’s Sufi Brotherhoods
Programs at Gardens of Dar Tazi at 11p.m. –Free Entry-

Saturday June 2 – The Tijania Brotherhood – Fes
Sunday June 3 – The Alliouia Brotherhood – Tangier
Monday June 4 – The Darkaouia Habibia Zaouia – Meknes
Tuesday June 5 – The Harrakia Zaouia – Tetuan
Wednesday June 6 – The Chekkouria Zaouia – Chefchaouen
Thursday June 7 – The Ouled Kamar Gnaoua Ensemble
Friday June 8 – The Chadilia Mchichia Brotherhood – Tetuan
Saturday June 9 – The Alamia Zaouia – Meknes

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central