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Music Festivals & Celebrations > Fes Music Festival World Sacred Music
Travel To Morocco For The Fes Music Festival - World Sacred Music
Music is a most powerful form of spiritual expression; it is also the medium most likely to bring humans together. —King Mohammed VI of Morocco
Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco
is 10-day celebration held in mid-summer (late May or early June) that takes place in the imperial city of Fes
. The festival was founded in 1994 by the Moroccan scholar and philanthropist Faouzi Skali and was created to showcase major musical traditions of sacred, spiritual music and world music. The current Artistic Director is Cherif Khaznadar, a pioneer of world music and one of the most influential Artistic Directors on the scene. Each year the festival celebrates artists from Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and other faiths to perform together in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration.
The Fes Festival is comprised of:
A four-day Forum called Rencontres de Fes
under the rubric "Giving Soul to Globalisation" where politicians, social activists, academics and religious leaders come together in dialogue to discuss the urgent issues of our times. These include conflict resolution, climate change, urban renewal, social justice and much more.
Intimate afternoon concerts at the Dar Batha
Museum and its surrounding Andalusian gardens.
Art and film exhibitions, poetry readings at the Dar Bartha Museum
and other locations within Fes
A one-day excursion to the Roman ruins of Volubilis
with Arc of Triumph as a backdrop setting for a musical performance.
Evening concerts at the Bab Makina Palace
nights: Sufi Music rituals concerts that begin at midnight performed by Moroccan Sufi brotherhoods in the Dar Tazi gardens, in the heart of the Fes
The Festival has featured wide range of global musicians such as Miriam Makeba, Ismael Lô, Mohamed Abdou, Tartit Women's Ensemble, Ghada Shbéïr, , Sabah Fakrih, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Jan Garbarek and The Hilliard Ensemble and the Whirling Dervishes of Konya in the dance of Odissi Madhvi Mudgal. Performers like Youssou N’Dour, Ravi Shakar and Salif Keita have been juxtaposed with less known musical genres such as Japanese Gagaku, Indonesian Gamelan and folk music from Central Asia
Festival is unique because it has roots in spiritual values and encourages the audience to become active participants. The festival’s president, Mohamed Kabbaj, wants the festival to act as an anchoring ground to teach people to learn to appreciate different cultures and to communicate better with one another.
In addition to bringing attention to various cultures, the Fes Festival has been a wonderful tool specifically in raising awareness for Moroccan culture. During the day, tourists arriving to enjoy the Fes Festival explore Fes
’ medina, souk, mosques and other city highlights. At night, they delight in the musical festivities.
The festival is not just confined to one square in Fes
. In honor of the festival there are art exhibitions and concerts held at the Dar Batha museum, talks at Palace Jamai, free concerts in the medina and in the new city, as well as many children’s activities, making it a great family destination.
In the morning, visitors can take part in seminars or round table discussions covering topics related to the theme of the festival. By attending the discussion, you can gain extra insight into the meaning of the festival.
In the afternoon, evening, and late at night, there are concerts given by performers arriving from every angle of the globe. These musicians help celebrate all the cultures and religions of the world through a multiplicity of their songs and rituals. The musical spectrum heard includes early European classical, Sufi ritual songs and trance music, Arab-Andalusian rhythms, a Bulgarian orthodox choir, Hindustani chants, Celtic sacred music, Christian Gospel, Swedish chamber choir, Pakistani Qawwali incantations, Egyptian madhi odes, flamenco-style Christian saeta, ancient Indian gwalior chants and Turkish whirling dervishes.
Traditionally, the festival’s most impressive afternoon concerts take place by the DarBathaMuseum
, which is set amidst a beautiful Andalusian garden and has a backdrop of the Atlas Mountains
. During the evening concerts are held at the Bab Makina and Palace Boujeloud. After the last concert of the night is over, the medina is the place to head for a continuation of a once in a life time experience. Every evening at midnight, there are free "Sufi Nights". These highly popular Sufi ritual trance performances are held at the DarTaziPalace
gardens where Sufi brotherhoods like the Hamadcha, the Aissaoua and The Master Musicians of Jajouka perform while you relax on Berber rugs and sip mint tea.
If you want to place the Fes Festival on your itinerary, make sure to reserve accommodations in advance as the city fills up quickly with tourists for this spectacular annual event. The most sought after location to stay in is the medina because it is central to all the concerts and main activities.
The Fes Festival is a unique experience that combines high art, popular entertainment, spiritual energy and intellectual challenges. It resonates with the essence of our times and is rooted in The Spirit of Fes –