Fez finds its festival of sacred music of the world

After two years of interruption and resilience, due to the health crisis, the city of Fez is preparing to welcome festival-goers, from Morocco and abroad, for the 26th edition of its World Sacred Music Festival.

Created in 1994 under the High Patronage of King Mohammed VI and the first of the new generation festivals that enliven the Moroccan cultural agenda, the Festival of Sacred Music of the World will also be the first major musical event of the summer of 2022, confirming the revival of event activities in Morocco.

A bearer of Moroccan values ​​of cultural openness and religious tolerance, the Fez festival is an important image vector for the Kingdom. As such, the representatives of the Esprit de Fès Foundation, and the organizing team of the Festival have undertaken, in recent days, a tour in France and Spain aimed at publicizing the return of this event of international influence.

A promotional tour in Paris and Madrid

Thus, on April 12 in Paris, a presentation was organized at the Luxembourg Palace for the Interparliamentary France-Morocco Friendship Group of the Senate and the French press. Similarly, on May 19 in Madrid, a meeting within the framework of the residence of the Embassy of Morocco made it possible to present the program of the Festival but also to strengthen the cultural and heritage links between the two countries.

High-flying programming

It is through a four-day format, from Thursday June 9 to Sunday June 12, and an inspiring theme “Architecture and the Sacred” that this high-flying program was designed.

Illustrating once again the immense diversity of spiritual voices across civilizations, this 26th edition will welcome artists from more than 15 countries, including the Sultanate of Oman, Kazakhstan, India, France, Italy and Senegal.

Big names are on the program. The Roohani Sisters who perform for the first time abroad and are among the greatest interpreters of Indian Sufism will respond to the authentic kora of Senegal and the voice of the great Senny Camara. The Onikki Muqams of Central Asia will resonate with Polyphonies Sardes. The creation of the pianist and composer Michaël Levinas accompanied by the soprano Marion Grange, around the poems of Paul Celan, taken from his oratorio “The Passion according to Marc” and other creative pieces inspired by the kaddish of the Hebrew tradition will echo the ‘Ensemble La Tempête, under the direction of conductor Simon-Pierre Bestion, who explores the links that our monotheistic cultures and religions have forged for centuries around the Mediterranean.

The fusion between the oriental jazz of the famous trumpet player Ibrahim Maalouf and the Balkan music of the very cosmopolitan Haïdouti Orkestar will finally pay tribute during the highly anticipated Saturday evening, to the both secular and sacred dimension of the celebration.

Music and projections in mapping at the opening

These four days of music will be introduced as usual by a magnificent opening night inspired by the intimate link between the sacred, architecture and music. Alain Weber, director and former artistic director of the festival, will invite the public to travel in sounds and images on a journey starting from Morocco through the five major religions of the world: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism… The show will combine the performances of many musicians from different traditions and extraordinary projections in mapping on the secular walls of Bab el Makina.

Unique places of memory

As at each edition, the diversity of the artistic proposals will be deployed on sites with high heritage value and allow to rediscover unique places of memory: the grandiose place of Bab el Makina where once took place the official ceremonies of the Royal Palace, but also the riads of the medina such as Dar Adiyel former residence of the governor of Fez under Sultan Moulay Abdallah. For open-air concerts in the afternoon, the Jnan Sbil garden, created in the 18th century, offers a peaceful atmosphere thanks to its shaded paths and lush vegetation.

Intimate concerts will also be given in the Aben Danan synagogue, a jewel of Moroccan Jewish culture dating from the 12th century, fully restored in 2013, and finally, every evening from 11 p.m., Sufi Nights animated by the tariqas of Fez will make the Wilaya room vibrate, opposite the Batha Museum

A strong social and civic dimension

Governing body of the Festival, the Spirit of Fez Foundation takes care to promote the anchoring of the event within the local community in a strong social and civic dimension. This commitment notably involves a partnership with universities Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah, Al Akhawayn and the private University of Fez for the development of training in cultural professions, by allocating a quota of tickets for access to shows for students as well as places reserved for people with reduced mobility. The Festival also supported the formation of a children’s choir schools which will perform alongside established artists (Senny Camara and Polyphonies Sardes).

This is without taking into account the multiple impacts perceived in terms of heritage restoration, improvement of the urban space and tourism, commercial and employment benefits. This dynamic of investment in local life will also continue throughout the year through several initiatives carried out under the aegis of the Foundation.

The Forum, a space for debate

The Fez Festival of Sacred Music of the World also includes, since 2001, a scientific component in the form of a Forum, a space for debate and cultural enrichment, led by renowned personalities and accessible to all in the conference room. of the Marriott Hotel.

Two themes will structure the day of Saturday, June 11 around architecture as an imprint, landmark and framework of beliefs and spiritualities, through two round tables: “Space and Ways of Life”, “Symbols of the Sacred”.

This Forum stands out as the essential complement to the Festival which allows the sacred city to address its intellectual and spiritual contribution to the world through a message of humanism and universality.

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