Music Festivals in Morocco
The vibrant colors and abstract ornament that characterize Moroccan design find voice in the many music festivals celebrated in Morocco each year. If you visit Morocco this summer, expect to hear the sounds of music in the streets as music festivals around the country celebrate diversity and promote peace. From Whitney Houston and Ziggy Marley to trance-inducing Gnaoua musicians there will be something for all musical tastes in 2008. Each festival includes an intellectual component with seminars and conferences exploring musical history and cultural diversity.
Rabat, Morocco’s capital, will host the Mawazine Festival from May 16-24. Through showcasing world music, the event promotes the values of unity, tolerance, love, security and peace. Mawazine 2008 Art Director Aziz Daki said this year’s event “will buzz to the rhythm of development and more openness towards others. An international symposium will be held in tandem with the festival, focusing on ‘Music of the World and Cultural Diversity’.” For more information about the event, including artists, see Magharebia.com. You can download a copy of the event program in French.
Fes, considered the cultural capital of Morocco and the Muslim West, celebrates its 1200 anniversary this year. It also hosts the fourteenth annual Fes World Sacred Music Festival. The interfaith music festival was founded after the first Gulf war in 1994 to promote peace and cultural understanding. This year’s festival occurs from June 6-14 and features musicians and spirtual music from around the world.
The annual Essaouria Gnaoua and World Music Festival celebrates its 10th year. Gnawa are descendents of African slaves. They include master musicians (maâlem), metal castanet players, clairvoyants, mediums, and their followers. You can hear the heavy-beat of Gnaoua music on the festival website. Gnawa are Muslims, but their beliefs incorporate African traditions and include ritual possession by spirits.